It probably goes without saying, but I hold the physical benefit of exercise close to my heart. Health and fitness are amazing attributes and are valuable assets to have across all aspects of your life. We see it every day, whether it's lifting something in our house or the emotional fortitude to recover from a lost relationship.
But the world of fitness is becoming more confusing every day. You're bombarded with infomercials for the newest piece of equipment for your “guns”, another diet book about what not to eat, or your friends telling you to join the new gym class that they swear is the best!
It's common knowledge by now that obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are on the rise all over the world. But there is good news: all these problems and epidemics are preventable! Talk about the physical benefit of exercise, there are 3 major ones right there alone!
Just so we are clear, first of all, any type of physical activity for 30 minutes helps reduce body weight/fat and start you on the journey to a healthier you. So if you're not exercising yet, GET MOVING!
I'm not here to tell you which training program is the best, nor which system will help you achieve your personal goals. But what I can assure you is that we all need strength in our lives. That's why I want to cover the two most important aspects of your health: the Physical and the Mental.
This post will be broken up into two parts because of the sheer volume of information and examples. Don’t worry, it won't be dry and boring like your high school classes. I will link to all references, though, so you can read more about a given subject if you want.
In Part I, I'm covering the actual physical benefit of exercise in your daily routine. We will go over some common fears and misconceptions about muscles/strength and address any doubts with facts and studies throughout this article, so enjoy the ride!
The physical benefit of exercise really goes beyond what we see. We humans are far more complex than the simple “picking heavy things up and putting them down” mentality. If you're going to do something, know why you're doing it.
I believe we're living in the age of “western medicine”, only going to a doctor to get a pill to heal yourself. What happened to “preventable” medicine, the steps we can take to ensure we live healthier and happier? We should be more proactive with our health, so let's explore the some of the different physical benefit of exercise!
Most people don't know this, but strength training actually has significant cardiovascular benefits. In this study, it actually increased participants’ leg strength and VO2 max within 16 weeks.
When healthy adults participate in strength training, they're not just combating high blood pressure; they're preventing it. *PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR FIRST*
Even people who have been diagnosed with chronic heart failure (CHF) have been able to improve skeletal muscle and exercise performance. Strength training has been proven to improve quality of life when added to cardiac rehab programs.
Let's be honest: we're all a little vain. We all want to look good naked, to be able to take our shirts off on the beach or in front of others without fear of judgment.
How can we do this?
It's simple: start strength training!
You can't just run and do cardio to look your best. You need to increase the size and strength of your muscles.
Don't worry, ladies; strength training won't make you bulky. Practicing strength training has been proven to improve your body composition (appearance) while at the same time decreasing body fat mass and percentage.
We hear talk all the time about “boosting your metabolism” and "metabolism disorder" all affect how much fat you burn end eliminating. Well, guess what: strength training does that too, as well as help you retain fat-free mass within your body, unlike aerobic-only training.
Strength training is even considered the key to preventing severe injuries by the University of Florida. Fewer injuries mean more opportunities to improve your health!
Looking past the myths about children lifting, what else has been proven to help increase their strength by 30–50% within 8–12 weeks of proper training? Yes, you read that right: strength training increased their strength by 30-50% in 8 weeks. That's madness!
Think you're too old to strength train? How about this study that found it increased the strength, size, and functional mobility of elderly people up to 96 years old? You're never too old or young to start strength training to start receiving the physical benefit of exercise!
Finally, if you need one more reason to choose this path of fitness, consider that mortality rates are lower for those with moderate-to-high muscular fitness compared to those with low muscular fitness.
I hope some of the physical benefit of exercise have resonated with you. Now I encourage you to start exploring your own strength and working to improve your life!
In Part II, I cover the mental benefits of exercise, e.g. how it improves your mood and can help you overcome depression Click Here to read it now!
Have you felt the physical benefit of exercise? How has it improved your life? Share your experience in the comments below, and be sure to share this article with all your friends!