An older man performs a bench press with a barbell to improve strengthHow much strength training do you get in your weekly workouts? And why is strength training so important?

Strength training is part of a well-rounded workout program, and the American Heart Association recommends strength training at least two days each week. Here are a few of the benefits of adding strength training to your workouts:

1. You build lean body mass.

Building lean body mass isn’t about looking good or having ripped abs. More lean body mass helps to maintain your body’s metabolic rate. More lean body mass means a faster resting metabolic rate. Maintaining your muscle mass becomes more important as you get older. As you age, your muscle mass naturally begins to decline. But strength training helps to maintain or increase your lean body mass.

2. You improve your balance and flexibility.

Adding a variety of strength training movements to your workout routine enhances flexibility and balance. With increased flexibility, mobility, and ease of movement, you’ll improve your stability in and outside of the gym. In addition, training through a joint’s full range of motion keeps your connective tissue and tendons more malleable, decreasing your risk of injury.

3. You make your bones stronger.

Not only does strength training build your body’s lean mass, but it also increases the density of your bones. Bone density increases due to weight-bearing exercises, such as strength training. The stronger and denser your bones, the less risk you have for conditions like osteopenia or osteoporosis, as well as a reduced risk of a bone fracture.

4. You improve your overall quality of life.

A strength training routine that targets all of your major muscle groups not only adds variety to your workouts but also improves your lifestyle and overall quality of life. When you perform regular strength training exercises, daily activities become more manageable. You’ll also get the benefit of some injury protection and avoid potential injuries from performing simple tasks like unloading grocery bags from your car, picking up your kids, or joining a few friends for a weekend hike.

At the YMCA of Greater Whittier, you’re not just joining a gym; you’re joining a cause! Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how you can get started.