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Strength training

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What is strength training?

Any activity that uses muscular force with the intention to build the body’s ability to create and use that force is strength training. The action of working with resistance — moving an object like a kettlebell, a resistance band, your own bodyweight, a dumbbell creates tiny tears in your muscles. In the hours and days following a workout, your body regenerates and repairs these tears. The muscle becomes stronger and can more easily move that same weight again the next time you repeat the movement.

How to start lifting weights

Strength training is an essential part of any fitness program, whether you’re a distance runner, a weekend cyclist or a yoga enthusiast. Training your body to bear more weight and move efficiently creates a solid foundation on which you can layer other exercises.
If you want to start lifting weights, start small. Start by incorporating one to two strength training sessions per week. If you feel like you need additional guidance, set up a session with a personal trainer who will teach you the proper form.

Who should start strength training?

If you have muscles, strength training will be beneficial for your body. Strength training is tremendously flexible in that it can be scaled to meet you where you are. It’s designed to be relative to your own size and power, which is why you’ll see trainers offer different weight options in a class. To achieve the same thing, a 220-pound person is going to require something heavier relative to his own bodyweight—than a 130-pound person.
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How often should you strength train?

Lifting weights three times during the week can work many wonders for your body. It will help increase your bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Over time your muscles, tendons and ligaments will get stronger, reducing your risk of injury from sports or everyday activities. Plus, after the age of 30 we start to lose about one-half pound of muscle per year, which can cause your metabolism to slow down. Weight lifting increases your lean muscle mass, making it a little easier to maintain your weight. And, of course, as you get stronger, everyday activities will be more tolerable.

The benefits of strength training

There are several reasons you should consider adding strength training to your life, especially when it comes to your physical self. The biggest strength training benefits include: healthier bone density, increased muscle, increased basal metabolic rate and increased strength.
Being strong — not just able to lift heavy loads, but more agile, more powerful and more balanced—is the foundation for a healthy, more injury-proof body. Our muscles are where movement is rooted, so no matter which other activities you like to do, or what your daily life requires of you, building strength will make those things feel more effortless. Not only are you training your muscles, you’re training the central nervous system synapses that control and execute these movements. Everything will become smoother and easier to access with time, both physically and neurologically.

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