Why Do I Need Strength Training?


back profile of woman with weights in both hands

(BlackDoctor.org) — Who doesn’t want to look better, feel better, and live a longer, healthier life? Well, studies show that strength training can do all of that and more. So what are you waiting for? It’s not just about bodybuilders lifting weights in a gym. It can benefit people of all ages and may be particularly important for people with health issues such as arthritis or a heart condition.

The Benefits

Yes, strength training will add definition to your muscles and give men and women alike more fit and toned bodies. But working out with weights does so much more:

1. Strength training protects bone health and muscle mass.

After puberty, whether you are a man or a woman, you begin to lose about 1 percent of your bone and muscle strength every year. One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your workouts.

2. Strength training makes you stronger and fitter.

Strength training is also called resistance training because it involves strengthening and toning your muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. There are two types of resistance training:

•    Isometric resistance involves contracting your muscles against a non-moving object, such as against the floor in a push-up.
•    Isotonic strength training involves contracting your muscles through a range of motion as in weight lifting.
Both make you stronger and can get you into better shape. Remember that with strength training your muscles need time to recover, so it should only be done on alternate days. Always take some time to warm up and cool down after strength training.

3. Strength training helps you develop better body mechanics.

Strength training has benefits that go well beyond the appearance of nicely toned muscles. Your balance and coordination will improve, as will your posture. More importantly, if you have poor flexibility and balance, strength training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent, a crucial benefit, especially as you get older.

4. Strength training plays a role in disease prevention.

Studies have documented the many wellness benefits of strength training. If you have arthritis, strength training can be as effective as medication in decreasing arthritis pain. Strength training can help post-menopausal women increase their bone density and reduce the risk of bone fractures. And for the 14 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, strength training along with other healthy lifestyle changes can help improve glucose control.

5. Strength training boosts energy levels and improves your mood.

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which will make you feel great. As if that isn’t enough to convince you, strength training has also been shown to be a great antidepressant, to help you sleep better, and to improve your overall quality of life.

6. Strength training translates to more calories burned.

You burn calories during strength training, and your body continues to burn calories after strength training, a process called “physiologic homework.” More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat, and in fact strength training can boost your metabolism by 15 percent — that can really jumpstart a weight loss plan.

Getting Started

Strength training doesn’t have to be limited to lifting weights, expensive machines, or gym memberships. Pushups, jump squats, lunges, and mountain climbing are all examples of exercises count too. If you have any health issues, ask your doctor what type of strength training is best to meet your needs and abilities. You can also work with a fitness expert to design a strength-training program that will be safe and effective for you.


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Painless Ways To Cut Extra Calories

protein style burger(BlackDoctor.org) — If you were to cut 100 calories from your diet every day for a year, you’d be saving 36,500 of ‘em—that’s 10 pounds each year! Try these easy weight-loss tips to save those calories and keep your waistline happy.

Choose better carbs.

Sometimes you can’t avoid breakfast on the run. When you make your choice at the deli, opt for a bialy instead of a bagel. You’ll cut 170 calories from your morning while adding a little variety to your food routine.

Ditch dried fruit for fresh fruit.

Sure, you may know that dried fruit has more sugar than its fresh counterpart, but did you also know that because it has less water volume, it has more calories per serving? Swapping a half cup of raisins for a half cup of grapes will save you 165 calories.

Add protein to your breakfast.

By adding protein to your breakfast (think eggs instead of cereal), you may not need that midmorning snack. That’s about a 150-calorie savings right there!

Opt for egg whites.

For even bigger breakfast savings, swap your three-egg omelet for one made of only egg whites and you’ll save 182 calories.

Downsize your drink.

Although we’re all for skipping the soda, if you have to have it, consider shrinking your serving: A 20-ounce bottle of regular soda can run you between 240 and 325 calories, so try a 7.5-ounce mini can instead. A mini can of Coke is just 90 calories, saving you 150-235 calories.

Think about your sandwich add-ons.

Your hearty go-to lunch sandwich probably already contains enough protein to keep you satisfied, so leave off that extra slice of cheese, which is about 105 calories. Instead, swap the two tablespoons of mayo (115 calories) on your sandwich for two tablespoons of naturally low-cal mustard. Ditching the cheese-and-mayo combo will save you 213 calories.

Simplify your coffee.

We know what it’s like to need that daily dose of caffeine, but make sure your cup of joe isn’t upping your calorie intake with added sugar from syrups, flavor shots and toppings. Ditch your grande caramel macchiato with two-percent milk (about 240 calories) for a tall nonfat caffe latte—it’ll save you almost 150 calories.

Split that big lunch in two.

Instead of tackling your entire sandwich at 12:30 P.M. and then reaching for a midafternoon snack later, try eating half your meal around 11 A.M., and then go for the other half around 3 P.M. You’ll still get the satisfaction of quelling your hunger at each stomach growl, but you won’t be reaching for something on top of lunch, saving you 150+ calories.

Prep your own snack packs.

Think about it: How many times have you felt the need to munch and had only less-than-optimal options? Even many commercial 100-calorie packs are full of empty carbs that’ll quickly leave you reaching for more. Instead, pack your own pre-portioned snacks, like apples and peanut butter—your cumulative daily savings can easily surpass 100 calories!