The Importance of Strength Training.
By Aaron Brewer MS, CSCS, PES, CF-L2, USAW
For some reason over time having a muscular build has got a bad rap or looked at as gross. Especially for women (which really grinds my gears).
No, you don’t need to look like Hulk or a powerlifter that you saw on ESPN walking with a refrigerator on their back, but you should be focusing on increasing your lean muscle mass by adding strength training to your life.
I read an article a couple of days ago that stated strength training can reduce the risk of early death by 46%….46%. Most people will read that and think to themselves how in the world can I have almost a 50% chance of not dying early just by being stronger and packing on some muscle. So my goal with this blog is to try to explain why.
So lets first examine the role of skeletal muscle. Our skeletal muscles are attached to our bone structure via tendons. Each muscle has a very specific action that it responsible for. Basically they are what moves us. But to dig a little deeper than that muscle also helps us stabilize, balance, produce force and reduce force. Now that I have told you the major roles of skeletal muscle is, I want you to think about one incident in which all of those actions can come into play………….falling or the ability to avoid a fall. Now you may wonder how falling can result it dying. Well its really simple actually. Falls can result in many severe health issues including and not limited to broken bones, brain injuries, bleeding, and organ system shut down (onset of rhabdo).
It goes without saying that there are many other factors that can cause a fall so just stay with me. In 2015 “older Americans” experienced 29 millions falls. Older Americans are classified as anyone 65 and older. All of you younger folk may think well hey I am only 25, being an older adult is still 40 years away. Well what If I told you that by the age of 30 your body begins to lose muscle mass. Or that inactive people will lose as much as 3-5% of lean muscle mass per decade after 30. So my point is you can not wait. You HAVE to start building muscle through strength training/resistance training now because at some point you’re going to lose it, you are going to lose it even with strength training.
And yes its true “if you don’t use it, you lose it”.
All the above is just one more reason to do burpees, but seriously do burpees. There’s no better way to practice getting off the floor.
Now I will go into some less harsh reasons of why you need muscle and need to be strong. As I mentioned earlier muscles are the main stabilizer of most joints (shoulders, hips, knees, ankles) so if you have for example stronger and active glutes (butt muscles) there is a much lower risk for knee and ankle injuries as well as low back injuries/pain. Or if you have stronger active back and shoulder blade muscles you will have a more stable shoulder joint. This is also very important to improve athletic performance as well as improved functional strength for activities of daily living.
Next, lean muscle plays an important role in metabolism/fat burning. For every pound of muscle that you have in your body it will burn 50 calories per day. More muscle means higher fat burning. And NO! a pound of muscle doesn’t weigh more than a pound of fat. If someone ever tells you that you need smack them. Well maybe not smack but stop talking to them immediately, because last time I checked a pound is a pound. The real difference in appearance comes from a difference in density, which is a topic for a later date. As a result of a higher metabolism you will also have an increased level of energy and stamina.
And lastly, strength training and muscle gain can increase happiness and self-esteem. Everyone can benefit from better mental health. I don’t know about you but I could always add in some more laughing and smiling to my daily life.
Thanks for taking the time to read. I really appreciate it!
If you have any questions please email me