6 Awesome Benefits of Strength Training

I was having a conversation last week with a friend who’s been doing a lot of hiking and running recently. He mentioned that he hasn’t been strength training as much as he used to and he is starting to feel like that’s catching up to him – that he’s lost a little strength and is just feeling blah. I told him I feel the same way. Since Baby T was born, my focus has been on regaining my cardio fitness, as well as some basic strengthening moves to help recover from childbirth when I started back running. But now I’ve reached the point where I know I’m missing a key component of my overall fitness.

This is the first time in a looong time I haven’t had access to a gym. We keep meaning to join a gym near us, but I think we’ve just been letting the excuses take over and now it has to happen. Despite lots of squatting, lunging and abdominal work during the BOSU challenge I took part in, I haven’t been utilizing my at-home workout gear as much as I could.

Now that I’ve signed up for the Vermont City Marathon next year, I want to focus on my strength to form a good base for upping my mileage. I’m excited to start lifting weights again, even more so when I read this article in the Times about a year-long study into the effects of strength training on the brain – it’s kind of jaw-dropping.

6 Awesome Benefits of Strength Training - especially for women. Want to know why strength training is considered one of the best things you can do for your body? From fat loss, to self esteem and body image (as well as all the medical benefits), this article outlines why you should be resistance training and how to start. And if you’re new to lifting weights, bodyweight training is a good place to start your strength training routine - workouts are listed at the end!

What are the benefits of strength training, especially for women?

Building strong, lean muscle is the best way to burn more fat. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so even at rest, your lean muscle is keeping your metabolism stoked. There’s no better way to reduce your body fat percentage than by strength training.

Resistance training is essential for staving off osteoporosis. This bone-thinning disease affects women more than men, since our bone density is lower and we lose bone density more quickly than  men as we age. But the disease can be prevented by regular strength training, since lifting weights maintains and increases bone density.

Lifting weights increases your self-esteem and body image. Isn’t that an awesome side effect? And given that so many women report being dissatisfied with their body, it’s one we could all use more of.

Your flexibility gets better when you strength train through your full range of motion. You’re strengthening your muscles and joints to work the way they ideally should, meaning your range of motion will be at its peak when you’re stronger and more trained.

There are several medical benefits to lifting weights, but let me lump them all into one category so you can be blown away with how significantly it can affect your health to weight-lift: With regular resistance training, you decrease your risk of arthritis, depression, back pain, increase your body’s blood sugar control and increase your HDL (good cholesterol) levels. WOW.

And don’t forget, getting stronger and leaner can make all your daily activities easier – if you’re a runner, more muscle strength will positively affect your speed and endurance, but you’ll also find walking up stairs, carrying groceries, picking up your child, or taking the trash out that much easier.

6 Awesome Benefits of Strength Training - especially for women. Want to know why strength training is considered one of the best things you can do for your body? From fat loss, to self esteem and body image (as well as all the medical benefits), this article outlines why you should be resistance training and how to start. And if you’re new to lifting weights, bodyweight training is a good place to start your strength training routine - workouts are listed at the end!

So, what does ‘regular’ strength training mean?

It probably depends on the person, but most of the studies on the effects of strength training on disease use a twice-weekly strength training session as their standard. That’s a great goal to set for yourself – you can get a good workout done in 30 minutes, which is just an hour out of your week if you’re getting in two workouts.

Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean lifting weights in the gym, either. Especially if you’re just starting out, bodyweight exercise counts as resistance training and can definitely be progressed as your body becomes more efficient. Also consider tools like resistance bands and TRX-style training if you don’t have access to weights.

Want somewhere to start?

Try out some of these workouts I’ve posted:

3 Quick Workouts – includes one cardio, one gym strength-training, one at-home strength training.

Three 15-Minute Workouts – for the next time you’re in the gym and don’t have a lot of time.

Stroller Workout – out with your little one in the stroller? Try this workout.

7 Awesome NO Equipment Workouts – a round-up from my friend Ruthie of 7 of her most popular workouts.

Resistance Band Workout for Runners – great for prehab and rehab of running injuries!

Postpartum Workout, Without Leaving Your Living Room – aimed at postpartum recovery, but helpful if you’re new to resistance training!


 

What’s the best benefit you’ve noticed from regular strength training?

Favorite at-home exercise tool?

Comments

  1. It completelu have me my voice in a world which tries valiantly to shhhhh! women.
    Carla recently posted…When saying YES is selfish.My Profile

  2. On a different note I’m over my apple products and their surprise autocorrects:)
    Carla recently posted…When saying YES is selfish.My Profile

  3. Love this lady! I need to get back into strength training. Actually, I need to get back into a routine in general!! Thanks for the round-up of workouts. I’m so excited for you to run Vermont City!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…The Dos and Don’ts of PeriscopeMy Profile

  4. Great suggestions. I will have to try these. Always looking for different moves to share with my clients.
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness.com recently posted…Marathon Training TruthsMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Yay! Glad you enjoyed it. I love finding new moves for clients, too – they always get a little worried when I’m super excited to try something new with them, ha ha!

  5. I’ve run for years without strength training and just recently decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. I’d had some issues with ITB in my last marathon and my son, who’s an exercise physiologist said that it was time. So I added some targeted strength work into the last marathon training cycle and the result was no knee pain during my race PLUS a 10 minute PB. At the ripe old age of 52. Strength training works.
    Char recently posted…Can’t Think Today – I Have The DumbsMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      ITB is awful – I had it when I was training for my first marathon. So happy you learned from experience how beneficial strength training is – and a PB never hurts, either, right? 🙂

  6. Great post! I love strength training actually so much more than cardio these days!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Advanced Pilates Exercises for Your CoreMy Profile

  7. Ahh….other than power yoga once a week, I have a really hard time fitting in any other form of strength training. I know that my running is improved when I strength train, and actually when I run less days rather than more days I actually run faster on the days that I run…. I can find a way to fit in 2 thirty minute sessions! I’m going to do it!
    Paria@momontherunsanity.com recently posted…Service is JoyMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      It’s so worth it, especially when you’re training for the marathon. When I’m doing so much running, I incorporate it into a workout sometimes. Do an easy/recovery run and finish with lunges and step ups and pushups and planks. Then there’s less to do when you’re in the gym!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Likewise, when it comes to strength training, don’t be afraid to try out different equipment. There are so many ways to strength train: […]

  2. […] a huge proponent of strength training for runners. I’ve shared that with you here and here and here! So for our favorite workout, I wanted to share my go-to strength workout for runners. […]

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