When you hear the words “strength training,” it may bring to mind an image of a large bodybuilder lifting huge weights in an attempt to pack on muscle mass faster than when the Hulk gets angry. If you’re trying to lose weight through medical weight loss program, this may seem like the opposite of what you need, but strength training isn’t all about adding mass by pumping iron. Doing some strength training exercises can actually boost your weight loss and give you a number of health benefits that you may not be aware of.
- Burn calories, boost metabolism: Due to the increased number of calories needed to make and maintain muscle mass over fat, your body will not only burn calories during strength training, but after as well. This is accomplished through a process called physiologic homework. In fact, strength training has been shown to boost overall metabolism by 15 percent, giving you a great head start on any weight loss program.
- Protect bone and muscle health: Research shows that everyone loses about one percent of their muscle and bone strength each year after puberty. A great way to counteract this gradual weakening is with regular strength training. Additionally, strength training can help you increase bone density and reduce the risk of bone fractures, which is especially important for menopausal women, and can help to decrease the pain of arthritis.
- Better energy levels, better mood: Getting some strength training into your workout will heighten the endorphin levels in your brain, resulting in better moods. Strength training can help ward off feelings of depression, help you sleep better and contribute to your overall quality of life. During your weight loss efforts, positivity and happiness is key to feeling great and staying motivated.
- Stronger body mechanics: Regular strength training will improve your posture and coordination. Strength training isn’t just about toning muscles—it contributes to the overall balance of your body and can reduce your risk of taking a nasty spill, which is especially important as you get older.
Can’t make it to the gym? Not all strength training is about doing bench presses and squat thrusts. Try doing some pushups and lunges at home or getting some simple, mid-weight barbells for curls. If that sounds boring, activities like rock climbing are also great methods of strength training. As always, consult your weight loss doctor in Hackensack before participating in any kind of strenuous activity and ask which strength training exercises may be right for you.