Why You Should Ascend Underground - The Importance of Strength Training
Ascend Underground coach Alex McDonald adds strength training to her workout routine even though she’s a total cardio junkie. The long-distance endurance runner incorporates elements of total body strength training and targeted injury-prevention exercises to round out her training. Below, Alex explains why strength training is an integral part of any exercise regimen.
Decrease Injury Risk
When you build muscle, you help protect your joints from injury, increase your balance and coordination, and help decrease any imbalances. This becomes even more important as you increase the intensity of the activities you love to do as you age. It boils down to this: If you are not strong enough to do what you love to do, you will eventually get hurt.
Preserve Muscle Mass
Unfortunately, muscle mass diminishes with age, but strength training will help maintain it. The percentage of fat on your body increases as you get older if you don’t replace the lean muscle you lose. To stay active in an increasingly sedentary world you have to continue to keep your body strong. That means strength training.
A regular strength training program helps you increase lean body mass and burn calories more efficiently, which can result in healthy weight loss. Cardio is a good way to tap into fat stores, but without incorporating strength training your muscles begin to adapt to cardio and become efficient at maintaining your caloric expenditure (this often happens after about 3 week). Strength training pushes your body and heart in and out of maximal/peak zone efforts and keeps your body guessing.
Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis
Women naturally lose bone density as they age, putting them at increased risk for developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones that can result in increased risk of fractures and bone degeneration. Routine strength training slows bone deterioration and can help your bones grow stronger, help you maintain strength, and reduce your chance of developing – or slow – the effects of osteoporosis.