As we get older the biggest worry we have when it comes to health is not letting it get away from us. It could be anything from cardiovascular issues, to gaining excess weight putting us at risk for type 2 diabetes. Some of us just want to be able to keep up with our kids.
Regardless of your situation, resistance training is the best form of exercise to fight weight gain. And it doesn’t require as much frequency as you think to keep your health in good shape.
Fitter and Stronger
Let’s start with the obvious. Lifting weights properly will ultimately make you fitter and stronger. You are going to build a solid foundation that allows you to perform everyday tasks better. It’s also great for your bones.
As we get older, our bone strength starts to decrease unless we do something about it. Resistance training provides that stimulus to strengthen bone density and keep your skeletal structure strong. This will further help reduce injury, and allow for a quicker recovery if you do get injured. Resistance training helps preserve or increase muscle mass, strength and overall power.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
The more we let our bodies go, the closer we get to type 2 diabetes risk, chronic illnesses, etc. Food is easily accessible to all of us, and we live in a world of abundance and overeating. If we don’t become aware of this, and implement habits to counteract this, it is a recipe for disaster.
Resistance training allows for better insulin sensitivity through better glucose control. When we workout, our body uses up carbs as a fuel source and gets depleted. We become very insulin sensitive post workout which allows for our bodies to better absorb protein and glucose to restore the glycogen in our muscles. It will also reduce your blood pressure which can reduce the risk for hypertension.
Improves Your Metabolism
The beauty of strength training is that it continues burning calories even after the gym. Muscle is calorically expensive to have. The more of it you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Think about that. A habit you can implement that allows you to eat more, and burn more calories just living your day to day life! Cardio doesn’t provide that good of a stimulus. Whatever calories you burn during cardio ends the moment that session ends. If weight gain is a concern, training 2-3 days a week is more than enough to help send the signal to grow muscle, and thus speed up your metabolism. Studies show people who followed a resistance training program along with a diet over the course of four months reduced their fat mass while increasing lean muscle mass.
Lifting weights can be great for treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. A meta analysis showed exercise provides a boost in endorphins which can better allow you to handle any stresses coming your way. We all know how important this can be for reducing weight gain. Eating, and overeating specifically is an emotional reaction. When we are stressed, we tend to rely on food for comfort. By removing this extra barrier, we set ourselves up for making healthier choices down the road.
Don’t Make It Complicated
Whether you are just starting to incorporate exercise into your routine, or are concerned about your weight, adding 2-3 days of resistance training is all you need to help curb that excess weight gain. Food is fuel, and we need to be doing more activities that allow us to use up this energy we consume and not just let it get stored as fat because we are sitting on the couch all day. Try 2-3 full body days where you are doing one exercise for each muscle group for 10-15 reps and stick with it for 4 weeks and see how you feel.