Need To Add Resistance Training?
Many gym-goers rack up the miles on the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike. These individuals are consistent in their routine, logging 40 minutes to an hour, 5 days a week on their favorite machine. The results came quickly at first; they shed a few pounds and became less breathless with the exercise. But, soon they stopped seeing the results they wanted. Why? They are neglecting resistance exercise, or should I say lifting weights.
The explanation can be broken down simply. The body adapts to stress. In this case, that stress is exercise. Resistance exercise places a different type of stress on the body. Therefore, causing the body to respond and adapt differently. Below are a few different adaptations that are better served by resistance exercise.
Building muscle mass
If your goal is to “get toned” or even have a 6-pack. You need to develop muscle mass. Resistance exercise creates micro-tears in the muscle, leading the body to act so it can repair itself. Your body is smart; it wants to be ready in case this happens again. So, it adds a little bit more to the muscle structure. Over time, this leads to hypertrophy or muscle building.
If you want to get stronger. You must “overload” the system. You must give the body a stress it is not accustomed to having. In other words, the weight must feel “heavy”. If the weight is not heavy enough, the strongest muscle fibers do not get turned on. If they do not turn on, they are not stressed, if they are not stressed they do not get changed.
If you simply just want to live a healthier life, resistance exercise is great for that as well. Resistance exercise offers greater bone health benefits compared to non- weight bearing or endurance related activities. Additionally, multiple research studies have shown that muscular strength is a major predictor of longevity comparable to cardiovascular function and other typical health tests.
Of course, we are not saying to DON’T do cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise has its own benefits for heart function and weight loss. A better lifestyle approach incorporates BOTH cardiovascular and resistance exercise.
If you are hesitant to start resistance training. You can start with machines or see your YMCA health and wellness trainer. They can start you on a safe and beneficial resistance exercise program.
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