5 Reasons You Won't Get Fit Without Strength Training

1
Your metabolism depends on strength.

Woman strength training with trainer in park
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 Are you a king or queen of cardio? You’re all about your spin class or hitting the trails for a run. Without fail you get a good sweat session in multiple times per week. I commend you. I am also devoted and slightly addicted to cardio workouts.  However, to truly be fit and healthy, you need to be doing some form of strength training. Strength training is often the answer to losing weight, changing your body shape and feeling confident. Strong, sculpted and toned won’t happen from cardio workouts alone. Need more convincing to start weight training? Consider this: the CDC reports that strength training can even slow down our physiological aging clock. Here’s why it just isn’t possible to be completely fit without strength training:

Strength training controls your metabolism. Your metabolism depends on strength. Around age 35, we start to lose about one half to a pound of muscle per year if we are not actively strength training. With more muscle, your body’s metabolism improves and you burn more calories, even at rest.  Your body uses more calories to make and keep muscle than to hold onto fat. If you want to fire up your metabolism, you’ve got to strength train.

2
Strength training protects your muscle mass and bone strength.

The CDC reports that strength training can even slow down our physiological aging clock. Here’s why it just isn’t possible to be completely fit without strength training.
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 As we age, we lose a percentage of the muscle mass we don’t use. Lifting weights or doing body weight exercises will help to build muscle, increase bone mass and keep joints healthy.  Using your muscles means you can slow down, prevent and even reverse muscle and bone loss. You will also improve your functional fitness—those every day movements you do will get easier.  And a strong, healthy body will reduce your risk for serious injuries or falls.

3
Strength training will give you a toned and sculpted appearance.

The CDC reports that strength training can even slow down our physiological aging clock. Here’s why it just isn’t possible to be completely fit without strength training
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Cardio workouts can help burn extra calories and get your heart in great cardiovascular condition, but strength training plays a bigger role in changing how your body looks. With increased muscle, you gain increased definition and get more of a sculpted and lean look than cardio-alone can provide. Spot reducing body fat isn’t possible.  When you lose fat, you lose it all over.  However, spot sculpting can work. Strength training ab workouts, for example, can firm and tone up that 6 pack you want.  If you want to feel and look like you are in better shape, strength training is where it’s at.

4
Strength training provides you with improved balance and coordination.

The CDC reports that strength training can even slow down our physiological aging clock. Here’s why it just isn’t possible to be completely fit without strength training.
Photo by: Hero Images / Getty Images

Strength training can improve your balance and coordination while reducing your risk of falling. With more muscle, you can improved posture and gain stability. While you may not be worried about it now, some reports show that weight training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent as you get older. And if you are challenging yourself with some mud runs or obstacle course races, your improved agility will pay off big time. 

5
Strength training means body power.

The CDC reports that strength training can even slow down our physiological aging clock. Here’s why it just isn’t possible to be completely fit without strength training.
Photo by: Westend61 / Getty Images

Weight training is resistance training—both isotonic movements (contracting muscles through a range of motion, like lifting dumbbells) and isometric movements (contracting your muscles against each other or a fixed object, like a plank or wall sit.) To build up our muscle power, our bodies need both of these forms of resistance training. The body power you build with muscle strength can help you outside of the gym too. If you have a stronger body, you can perform better on the tennis court or on the ski slopes. For example, plyometric workouts (those with jumping movements) will work on your body’s explosive power. Improved explosive power can make you a better runner or better on the basketball court. Strength training can unlock your body’s true potential for power.

If strength training is new for you or something you just haven’t prioritized, know that there all sorts of fun tools to use. Pick up some weights, a kettlebell, sandbags or battle ropes.  Use your own body weight or find a playground. If you need instruction, hire a trainer or join a group class with an experienced instructor. Just know that to truly be fit, strength training needs to be a part of your weekly routine.  I have heard many exercise physiologists say “Just pick up something heavy and put it over your head every day.”  It doesn’t have to be complicated but it’s certainly worth it.   

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