By now, we all seem to know the benefits of cardiovascular training. Our doctors and a multitude of fitness experts on national and local television purport the many benefits of partaking in cardio conditioning most days of the week. But how many truly know the benefits of resistance training?
The benefits of resistance training cover many fitness and health parameters. The obvious benefit to most people is adding lean muscle mass. For many in the weight room, this is their primary goal — and an elusive objective of attaining an ideal body image, which varies with each person. Better described as muscle hypertrophy, this is the intent of adding muscle size for the pure benefit of having larger muscles. This is typically an aesthetic goal that millions participate in.
Looking beyond hypertrophy, there are other benefits that might appeal to a broader part of the population. Weight loss and weight management are a huge component of many people’s fitness goals. Resistance training can be a huge contributor to the success or failure of someone’s fitness plan based on how it is utilized. Resistance training can definitely help many people add lean muscle mass and in many cases helps to maintain it. As someone gets older, hormones, and hormone levels change. With changing hormones, a change in the level of activity, or a more sedentary lifestyle can lead to a decrease in lean muscle mass. Resistance training incorporated a few days a week can help maintain current levels of muscle mass.
To the point of weight loss and weight management, when you engage in a weight loss routine and or diet, a big focus should be on maintaining your current amount of muscle mass. Restricted calorie diets can lead to muscle mass loss, which starts the cycle that many people refer to as “yo-yo dieting.” Muscle mass and metabolism are directly correlated. For every pound of lean muscle mass you have, your resting metabolism increases. If someone were to be on an overly restrictive diet and lose muscle mass, their metabolism would lower and make maintaining a specific weight even more difficult.
Many fitness-minded individuals are not interested, and even turned off by, the prospect of adding muscle (bulk) through resistance training. For most, this is not a real likely concern. As one gets past their peak hormone levels, say in their late-20s or early to mid-30s, muscle building (hypertrophy) is very difficult to achieve.
When people begin to age into their mid-30s and beyond, bone density can start to become a concern. Growing concern of osteopenia and osteoporosis as one ages will lead one to adding resistance training to their workout routine. Bone density can be added up to a certain age, and then beyond that bone density maintenance should remain the primary focus of someone’s workout routine.
Adding a well thought-out resistance training program to your fitness routine can have many benefits. A higher resting metabolism, adding or maintaining bone density, maintaining lean muscle mass and developing strength and power for daily life and sport or activities that one may take part in are all beneficial results of resistance training for people of all ages. For any assistance with resistance training programming, please connect with your club fitness director or your favorite Village personal trainer.