Why You Should Add Strength and Conditioning to Your Regular Workouts

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Strength and conditioning is catching on with women worldwide, and for good reason, the benefits go far beyond a lean and toned body. Strength, weight bearing and resistance training all contribute to not only a better physical appearance, but an overall physical and mental fitness that makes you more resistant to sickness and disease and may even help you live longer.
 
A recent study of over 35,000 women, published by the American College of Sports Medicine, shows that those who participate in regular strength training had a 30 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes and a 17 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Similarly, researchers at the University of Sydney found that people who did strength-based exercise had a 23 percent reduction in risk of premature death by any means, and a 31 percent reduction in cancer-related death, while the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine attributes strength training to a reduction in the symptoms of everything from dementia and depression to anxiety, self-esteem and overall cognitive function.
 
The science behind much of this is quite simple when you think about it. It’s very much a use it or lose it theory. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and bone density — up to 25 percent by age 70 — leaving us open to increasing aches and injuries, especially if we lead a sedentary lifestyle. By staying active and engaging these muscles regularly, we stave off that loss of strength and mass, protecting ourselves from injury.
 
Now don’t be afraid of that term ‘mass.’ As women, we are naturally predisposed NOT to build large, bulky muscles. Without a large amount of the male hormone testosterone coursing through our veins, it takes a significant, if not superhuman effort, for a woman to build bulky muscles, so don’t let that scare you away from strength training. In fact, strength training will save you from another kind of bulk by boosting your metabolism.
 
That’s right, strength training not only burns a ton of calories while you engage in the activity itself, it also raises your body’s resting metabolic rate. In fact, a pound of muscles burns calories at over twice the rate as a pound of fat. According to Christopher Wharton, PhD, a certified personal trainer and researcher with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, 10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories.

And let’s not forget about the importance of maintaining our bone density! Numerous studies show that strength training not only prevents bone loss, but that it may even help build new bone! Adding strength training into your workouts just two to three times each week is enough to stave off bone loss and protect yourself from osteoporosis and other age-related bone diseases and injuries. Check out these tips from WebMD on how to start your strength training program.
 
It’s easy to see why so many people of all ages are adding strength training and conditioning to their fitness routines. Contact us today to ask about how you can start integrating strength training into your health and wellness plan to start reaping the benefits too.
 

Susan McInnis