Many exercise routines focus on a particular aspect of fitness but neglect other areas, so it’s important to be aware of where there might be gaps. For example, some workouts focus solely on cardio. Others focus only on flexibility or balance. However, research is showing that by adding 3 to 4 strength training sessions to your weekly exercise routine is proving to be a lot more beneficial to your longevity than previously thought.
When incorporated with high-intensity interval training like the experience at Black Box Fitness, strength training improves bone health, increases energy levels, and enhances brain function, and a lot more.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of strength training and how the Black Box Fitness workout produces these health benefits.
1. Improved Bone Health
While most people might avoid thinking of bone health or diseases like osteoporosis in their 30s, it’s never too early to incorporate lifestyle habits that encourage strong bones. In fact, most people reach peak bone mass by age 25-30, and they’ll slowly begin to lose bone mass by age 40, with a more rapid increase later in life. For women, this is even more evident in the decade following menopause, when they can lose 40% of inner bone and 10% of outer bone mass.
According to a study in the 2014 Journal of Family and Community Medicine, 12 weeks of strength training increased bone mineral density in the lower spine by 2.9% and femur (thigh) by 4.9%. Strength training keeps bones healthy and can improve bone health for already weakened bones.
2. Better Cardiovascular Health
Increased levels of abdominal fat (also known as visceral fat) are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Visceral fat is located in and around vital organs, so when you can replace that with lean muscle mass, it improves your overall cardiovascular health.
One of the best ways to achieve this goal is through strength training, which forces increased blood flow and oxygen to muscles.
3. Increased Energy Levels
Exercise increases your energy levels by stabilizing blood sugar levels and increasing endorphins, but strength training, in particular, seems to create neurochemical and neuromuscular responses that further increase energy levels. There’s also a direct correlation between resistance training and increased metabolism, which directly affects your energy levels.
4. Lower Abdominal Fat
Muscle mass actually determines your basal metabolic rate, so as you reduce fatty tissue and increase lean muscle, your metabolism increases, which means you’ll burn more calories. The great part about this is that you burn calories while you’re working out, but your body continues to do the work when you do strength training and then continues to burn calories after your workout, providing further benefit.
5. Improved Mood
Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which plays a role in improved emotional health, and while any exercise is better than none, strength training can also improve mood through controlled successes. The strength training at Black Box Fitness, for example, encourages individuals to push themselves to the next level and then reward them with successes based on achievements such as increased weight amounts. That’s a fantastic way to improve one’s mood and sense of accomplishment!
6. Better Flexibility and Mobility
This is a fascinating benefit because traditionally, we were taught that stretching was the ultimate way to improve flexibility and mobility, but research supports strength training as slightly superior for this benefit. Although stretching is still definitely something that should be a regular part of any workout routine, strength training can build muscle while simultaneously improving flexibility and mobility.
7. Elevated Body Image
When we feel better about ourselves, it affects our overall health, and exercise, in general, has positive effects on our body image, but strength training, in particular, can have a positive effect on overall body image, according to a 2013 Journal of Extension study of middle-aged and older women. Studies show that body image might be particularly low in older women, which can lead to overeating, depression, and other unhealthy lifestyle issues. Improved body image is helpful for overall wellness.
8. Enhanced Brain Health
According to a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, high-intensity progressive resistance training improves cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in adults over age 55. The types of games at Black Box Fitness consist of progressive resistance training, also known as PRT. During the 2016 study, significant improvements were noted when study participants had PRT and cognitive training 2 to 3 days per week for six months.
9. Longer Lifespan
A 2015 study in The Lancet suggests that measurement of grip strength is a more accurate predictor of all-cause death. Also, according to a 2017 study shared in Current Opinion, measurement of muscle strength and lean muscle mass might be better indicators of a person’s overall health compared to body mass index (BMI).
Increased muscle strength and lean muscle mass can positively impact many areas of the body, thus decreasing the risk of other health conditions and increasing the potential for healthier aging.
10. Ability to Burn Calories more Efficiently
As previously mentioned, all exercise is beneficial and increases your metabolism, but strength training establishes an environment of “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” according to the American Council on Exercise. This means your body continues to burn calories at an increased rate following a strength training session, making it an efficient workout.
In summary, strength training is a beneficial part of any fitness regimen.
Make sure you are getting your 3 to 4 Black Box Fitness workout in for optimal fitness results.
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