Friday, January 27, 2012

Reasons to Start Strength Training

As I get closer and closer to feeling like myself again after the birth of my first child, I can't help but contemplate my return to strength training. Oh, how I've missed it—it's been almost an entire month since I've touched a single weight! And honestly, it's been kinda great. I think my body is really responding to the time off. Not necessarily in a bad way, either. True, I feel like I might be losing some muscle mass. But those same muscles are getting some much need rest and relaxation.

Still, I'm itching for a good workout. A really good workout.

Once you strength train on the regular, it becomes such an important part of your daily life. And for good reason, too—I was reminded of this most recently by a post on Greatist. Do you follow Greatist? If you follow Daily Dose on Facebook, you've probably clicked on a few links to it as I've been sharing them almost regularly (gotta love sites with good content).

Back to the post I speak of: "20 Reasons to Start Strength Training." They really nailed it with this one, as all the reasons are completely good and true. Below, my favorite five:

1) "Rev metabolism."
I like food...but I can't get away with eating as much of it and whatever of it that I want. But when I strength train, I notice how much healthier my appetite is. Mostly because my body needs the food to function properly. All that extra work at the gym is fueled by all the eating I do at home. My metabolism is kicked into high gear, which means I'm effectively burning what I put into my mouth. I've had to watch it a little bit since I've been home with Hannah. I'm not moving as much, so I can't snack as much as I used to. Nor do I really even need to.

2) "Bulletproof the body."
I can't even tell you the last time I got hurt because of a trip or fall. And my labor and delivery...I like to think it went well (even though it lasted forever) because my body was ready for it. The stronger your body, the more prepared it is to face the physical challenges that life presents.

3) "Fight the blues."
Oh, endorphins! The natural happy juices that flow through our bodies after a great workout. I don't know about you, but if I go to the gym in a grumpy mood...I almost always leave with a smile. Strength training puts me in a particularly wonderful state of mind, even if the workout wasn't so great. Tell me honestly: Who needs pills when you can pick up a weight?

4) "Beat out boredom."
Yeah, sure. You can hit the gym if you're bored. But that's not necessarily what this reason is talking about. Strength training shouldn't ever be boring. (Treadmills, on the other hand...) There are gazillions of ways to go about it that no workout should ever have to be the same as the one before it. That's not to say you have to make changes from one session to the next, but knowing you can makes it easier to go from one session to the next. I never dread my workouts because I am constantly switching things up.

5) "Cut down cancer risk."
I honestly didn't know this, but Greatist links to a study that explains how strength training reduces oxidative stress in the body which can ultimately reduce one's risk for developing cancer. Since we know not how to cure the disease, this reason proves to be a valuable argument in favor of strength training.

Be sure to check out the other 15 reasons. And if you haven't been strength training, it's always wise to check in with your doctor first. You know, just to make sure it's perfectly fine for you to start a new exercise regime.

Question: If you strength train regularly, what reasons do you have for doing so?

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