by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director
#1 – Right now, you probably don’t have enough muscle mass
A major reason, especially for women, to avoid the weights is the fear of looking like the Incredible Hulk. Here’s the truth about bodybuilding: It takes a lot of work and a very special, special diet to look bulky and muscular. The typical person working out a few times a week is in no danger of getting too big. The fact is that if you do get a little bigger after weight training, your muscles probably weren’t big enough in the first place. As we get older, we lose muscle mass. This is called sarcopenia and it can lead to low bone density and injuries. Instead of worrying about gaining too much muscle, we should all be worried about losing our muscle and getting weaker.
#2 – Strength builds better posture and stability
So, if you don’t have enough strength, what does that mean for your daily life? In order to move correctly, while doing anything, you need a strong foundation. You need your muscles to be strong. Muscle mass and full body strength gives you good posture, the ability to move correctly, consistently, and the stability that prevents injuries. Postural strength is the ability to maintain good posture over time. You can think of postural strength as core strength, but it’s really much more than that. It is the ability to actively support the spine in concert with the shoulder and hip joints. Without this strength, you slouch. When you slouch, your back hurts, your neck hurts. If you sit at a desk for most of the day and slouch, you don’t have enough postural strength.
#3 – Being stronger improves your quality of life
As a trainer I hear a lot of reasons that people want to get in better shape. Many share their goals of improved sports performance, household task endurance, and/or keeping up with the family not realizing strength training was the answer to their problems.
#4 – Muscle mass improves all kinds of health conditions
You’ve heard of osteoporosis right? Losing bone density with age does not have to be inevitable, and gaining some of it back is possible…with strength training. Strong muscles reduce chronic pain that might otherwise be treated with invasive and risky surgeries. Strength training can even reverse or reduce the severity of chronic health conditions like heart disease and type II diabetes.
#5 – Even endurance athletes need strength training to perform
Athletes that include regular strength training reduce their risk for injury and improve their performance in endurance challenges. Muscle strength gives you the ability to move correctly to avoid injury, including the kind of chronic pain and damage to joints that sidelines athletes for weeks or months.
• Gaining muscle mass gives you several benefits
• Greater bone density
• Less pain
• Better quality of life
• Improved posture
•Reduction in symptoms of certain chronic illnesses
• Better endurance performance