Build Muscle Smarter, Not Harder
Strength training, also known as resistance training, is a cornerstone of physical well-being. While it’s great for improving muscle density, it boasts plenty of lesser-known benefits that are just as important.
The benefits of lifting, pushing and pulling
It’s not all about bulking up! Strength training can help you burn fat because muscles burn more calories compared to fat. It also bolsters your bones and connective tissue, meaning your body is better equipped to avoid injury.
The benefits don’t end there though. Strength training helps your body in a lot of other ways, some physical and some not. It’s been shown to:
- Improve heart health
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Promote better sleep
- Ease arthritis symptoms
- Reduce anxiety and depression
Tips to get stronger
If your physical regimen doesn’t include strength training, don’t overdo it at first. Start with something simple that allows you to ease into it. Aim to do a routine that works all your muscle groups for two days a week.
Even with ‘simple’ workout plans, you should always warm up before exercising to reduce your risk of injury. Go on a brisk walk, jog for ten minutes or lift light weights before diving into the big stuff. It might seem quick and effortless, but your body will thank you in the long run.
Training with proper form is just as important as how much weight you’re exercising with. That’s because it allows your body to use all of its muscles efficiently and avoid overtaxing or misusing certain groups.
With pretty much any strength exercise, there are three key tips for better form:
- Stand (or sit up) tall with your chest lifted and engage your core
- Move slowly so you don’t swing the weights
- Remember to keep breathing
When you’re choosing a weight, it should feel like a challenge to engage with it.
If you’re struggling to lift, push or pull it at all, then that’s a sign to ease up.
Similarly, there’s such a thing as working out too much. Don’t underestimate the importance of rest days to allow your muscles to rest, repair and, ultimately, get stronger. A good rule of thumb is to avoid working out the same muscle groups two days in a row.
Tracking your progress is a great way to stay on track with your strength training. The Online Health Coach makes it easy—it lets you set and manage your health goals and track your progress along the way.
If you use a wearable activity tracker or mobile fitness app, MyBlue® lets you connect it to your Health Tools. Your fitness data will be automatically updated in the Online Health Coach and your Personal Health Record.