Time to move beyond the treadmill
Resistance training is not to everyone’s taste at first. It conjures up images of sweaty men heaving weights around the gym and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
It can seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you are unfamiliar with various types of exercises. So many people just use their time to thrash out some time on a treadmill or exercise bike. But although cardio exercises play a vital role in staying fit, it should be supplemented with resistance based exercises. Luckily there are alternatives to purely pumping iron, as we will discuss later.
Resistance training has many health benefits
Training using weights, or any other form of training under resistance, isn’t just a pastime for the vain. It brings a whole host of health benefits that really shouldn’t be ignored. One of the most overlooked advantages of strength training is its anti-aging effect.
The normal aging process will cause muscles to weaken in the absence of exercise. This happens for a number of different reasons, and the time spans in which they happen differ between men and women.
Although there are a plethora of possible contributory factors, genetics, a reduction in human growth hormone and a decline in testosterone certainly have an impact. Although there is still some debate on the issue, there is evidence to suggest that resistance exercise can help to stimulate the release of human growth hormone and increase the production of testosterone.
Another reason to include strength training exercises in your regime is to help to stimulate your metabolism.
Resistance training helps to increase the proportion of your lean body mass. This, in turn, helps to elevate your basic metabolic rate which means you will burn more calories at rest. Furthermore, it has a positive impact on other metabolic functions such as insulin sensitivity, thyroid function, and hormonal balance.
And the list of benefits goes on. Resistance exercises can also help improve mood, aid cognitive function and decrease blood pressure.
Incorporating more resistance training
The critical question is, how can you include more resistance exercise into your week in a way that encourages you to sustain it?
Weight-training is obviously an option, but as mentioned earlier, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. One alternative that might appeal is total body conditioning (also known as TRX). This is an option we covered in more detail in an earlier blog.
Another alternative that you may not have considered is Pilates. Many people overlook the resistance element of Pilates, instead focusing on how it can help with flexibility or develop the core. But Pilates is a great resistance workout that often uses the participants own body weight against them.
What’s more, with Pilates you get directed supervision and are taken through a progression of movements from session to session.
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