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strength is sexy
Growing up, nobody talked about strength training. “Weightlifters” were considered meatheads who mostly lived in California on Muscle Beach and ate yogurt. The idea of a woman lifting weights would have been considered ridiculous. Little did we know that some of the best bodies in Hollywood, the women who exemplify femininity, were strength trainers. Marilyn Monroe, sexpot that she was, was uplifted religiously. Jane Mansfield was married to Mickey Hargitay, Mr. Universe, and she released her own pink hand weights called Jayne’s Cinderella Set. You can see her working out on YouTube with those weights. These two women were the epitome of feminine attractiveness in an era when women weren’t allowed to be strong. Today most of you know Gwen Stefani. Her famous hourglass figure is partly due to strength training.
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Power extends life
Strength training builds bones, just as it builds muscle. By putting a physical load on the bones when the muscles pull on the bones to overcome gravity, new osteoblasts (bone cells) are formed. It’s biological supply and demand. I know a man who broke both his neck and hip in a simple fall. His bones and muscles were weak from disuse as he sat at a desk year after year, gaining weight and refusing to change his diet or exercise habits. A strong, muscular body is more than attractive, it is also healthier and extends your lifespan enormously. Falls are the second leading cause of deaths from injuries worldwide, with approximately 684,000 deaths from falls each year. (1) The bones and muscles gained through strength training contribute to stability and better balance. You are much less likely to fall if you are physically fit.
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Strength training improves quality of life by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. There is a multitude of literature on reducing belly fat. While it is not possible to reduce blotchiness, if the body fat percentage drops, you will automatically lose some belly fat. Metabolism is increased up to 72 hours after a strength workout, so we can keep our metabolism higher and higher by incorporating regular strength training into our fitness programs. If our fat burner is on high, we can become fat burners.
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Skeletal muscles help increase insulin sensitivity. By removing glucose from the blood and sending it to your muscles that need it, strength training helps control blood sugar levels. One study showed a 30% decrease in the odds of developing type 2 diabetes for strength trainers. (2)
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Mental Health Benefits
Strength training is associated with greater self-esteem, less depression and improvement in brain function. As a dementia nurse I can tell you how important it is to protect and nourish your brain. The increased blood flow to the brain helps boost memory and recall. Brain inflammation is considered the cause of many mental dysfunctions. Strength training is known to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
As a woman who has been plagued for years by various arthritic ailments and ailments, and who also has the genes for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, I can attest to the ability of strength training to reduce pain and increase mobility and ease of movement.
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So many species, so little time!
There are so many types of strength training! Most people think of the barbell and weight plates when they think of strength training and that’s my favorite, but there are far less intimidating ways to do strength training. Bodyweight Exercises, or calisthentics, use your body to create resistance. Squats, Lunges, Sit-ups, Push-ups, Step-ups, Planks, and Pullups are all good resistance exercises.
Exercise bands are an easy, convenient, and inexpensive way to incorporate strength training into your fitness program. You can buy many different types of bands and go from light resistance to intense resistance. These bands are readily available at Walmart for under $10. You can go heavy and spend as much as $75 and up for better bands that offer a lot of resistance when you’re ready. The good bands can also be used as training bands while you are trying to learn to do pull-ups.
You can get small hand weights as low as 1 pound and later buy barbell bars where you can add weight plates. You can get a standard barbell with free weights that can carry you up to 135 pounds and later, if you are serious about lifting, buy an Olympic barbell set. If you are going to lift weights at home, make sure you always have a dedicated spotter and/or power rack for safety. I almost died TWICE under the bar while bench pressing, both times because I didn’t have the proper gear or because I forgot to set my safety pins. If you’re going to lift free weights, invest in some training at a good gym until you know what you’re doing. Find a trainer who will give you an organized, progressive program and keep some common sense. DO NOT LET ANYONE CONVINCE YOU TO DO SOMETHING STUPID. Standing on a ball while squatting a barbell is STUPID. Remember that you are the one who pays the trainer. He works for you.
While swimming isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of strength or resistance training, the water does provide moderate resistance. Pushing off the wall while swimming laps is also thought to build bone in the hip.
Whatever you do, don’t use ankle weights! Although opinions about these destruction tools change from time to time, I can tell you from experience that they can hurt your knees. Again, use your common sense. Anything that feels like an injury probably is. Muscle pain is normal. Intense, relentless pain IS NOT. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY WEIGHT LOSS OR TRAINING PROGRAM.
Cardio is a necessary part of a good exercise program, but strength training is what will give you the most obvious benefits. If you want the power and the look and confidence that come with it, see your doctor and get started today!
(1) Falls (who.int)
(2) 14 benefits of strength training, backed by science (healthline.com)
Sexy, strong legs!
This post Strength Training Benefits – David’s Way to Health and Fitness was original published at “https://davidsway.blog/2022/03/08/strength-training-benefits/”