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5 Benefits of Strength Training Beyond Muscle Gain

Strength training is a great way to strengthen your muscles and also gain more mass. The benefits don't stop there though, as this kind of training actually benefits your body in so many other ways too. Some of the most important reasons to practice strength training include:

• Weight management and metabolism boost

• Nutrient partitioning improvements

• Bone maintenance

• Connective tissue strengthening

• Reduction in injury risk

Weight and Metabolism

While it's cardiovascular regimes that are known for their weight loss benefits, strength training is a highly effective adjunct to a cardio regime. Resistance workouts aid fat loss and weight management in a slightly different but complementary way to cardio workouts. The combined effect from utilizing both leads to a dramatic improvement in body composition.

This effect is predominately the result of how strength training affects your metabolism. A single strength workout burns a significant number of calories during the workout itself, but it also leads to an increase in metabolism that persists after the workout has been completed. This metabolic increase can last up to 2 days, helping you to burn more calories at rest for a long period of time and enhancing your efforts greatly.

Nutrient Partitioning

Another related benefit is the effect that strength training has on your ability to partition nutrients. Heavy resistance workouts burn through a lot of glycogen and also greatly raise the insulin sensitivity of your muscles.

These chemical changes in your muscles prime your body to store more of the calories you eat--especially those from carbohydrates--back into muscle glycogen instead of being stored in the liver or fat reserves. The result is that you're less likely to gain significant amounts of fat if you perform a strength training regime regularly in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet.

Bone Maintenance

Muscle isn't the only structure to benefit from strength training. In fact, heavy lifting is an absolute requirement to maintain the strength and density of your bones. Bones that aren't subjected to weight in some form gradually atrophy, and this is why physical exertion helps to keep them strong as it offers additional stimulus beyond that of gravity.

Resistance training has an even greater effect than other kinds of exertion because the heavy weight requires adaptation to lift adequately. In the same way that your muscles gradually strengthen from a resistance workout, bones strengthen over time too, allowing you to lift even more weight and lowering the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life.

Connective Tissue Strengthening

Resistance training also benefits the connective tissue of your body. This tissue, consisting of ligaments, tendons, fascia, and other tough structural components develops and strengthens in response to physical activity, but it does so very slowly compared to muscle. Workouts utilizing heavy weights cause this strengthening to happen more readily and quickly.

Reduction in Injury Risk

The major result of the strengthening of all the structures of your body is a reduction of the risk of injury that persists into older age. Resistance training reduces the risk of fractures, osteoporosis, muscle tears, ligament tears, and falls. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of many common lifestyle illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

The earlier in life that you start a regular strength training regime, the greater the potential benefit. The training you do while you're young is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy and strong for your entire lifetime and to maintain your ability to lead an active lifestyle for many years to come. All these benefits and more can be gained just by adding regular strength workouts to your lifestyle right now.



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