Strength Training. The name suggests that we are training for “strength.” This is what we learned in 1970 when Arnold Schwarzenegger won his first Mr. Olympia and Arthur Jones invented and sold the first Nautilus exercise machine. The message: Strength train to make our muscles stronger. Over the years, this evolved to include our bones as well. The message persists today.
So many of Discover Strength’s wonderful clients have told us, and I paraphrase, “Thank you for launching Virtual training and allowing me to stay strong until studios open.” I appreciate this sentiment. And staying strong IS important. But by all means, don’t strength train (virtual or in a studio/gym) solely to stay strong. Strength training will help you stay strong, but I don’t think muscle strength even ranks in the top 10 most important, evidence-based benefits of strength training.
When you perform your next Virtual workouts, consider these benefits as the “Why” that should underpin your effort and commitment. These are the benefits that are well established in the research, yet no one seems to mention them. Even people who LOVE strength training fail to grasp the profound health benefits of strength training.
- Strength training is the most effective intervention for protection from cardio-metabolic disease. Yes, more effective than “cardio.”
- Strength training increases resting metabolic rate; the number of calories you burn when you aren’t working out.
- Strength training reduces resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure. And in men with hypertension, the stronger you are, the less likely you are to die of the comorbidities associated with hypertension.
- Strength training improves mood, self-esteem, and self-concept.
- Strength training prevents cognitive decline and reverses mild cognitive impairment in older adults.
- Strength training is the most effective intervention for reducing abdominal fat, visceral fat, pericardial, and epicardial fat (fat found around the heart).
- Strength training stimulates the production of myokines; microscopic proteins that encourage cross talk between organ systems and redefine our muscle as an endocrine organ.
- Strength training decreases LDL and increases HDL cholesterol.
- Strength training reverses aging at the mitochondrial level.
- Strength training has been shown to reduce cancer death by 31% (more effective than any other form of exercise or activity).