Most people think building muscles is for the beach, but the benefits are far more significant and diverse than looking good in a bathing suit.
An increase in muscle cross-section means more force development. At the same time increases in tendon density, cross-section, and stiffness occur. Simply put, you’re stronger and can do more.
Muscle tissue is dense in Mitochondria. Strong muscles increase the density and size of our mitochondria which in turn help produce more energy for us.
Added muscle also is the only way to permanently raise our basal metabolic rate, which means we burn more calories at rest.
Additionally, more muscle tissue helps us improve insulin resistance, giving us a higher tolerance for carbohydrate consumption.
Strength training has been consistently shown to reverse osteoporosis and osteopenia by increasing bone matrix density.
(This adaptation is specific, so be sure to engage with a whole body program, preferably using free weights)
The adaptations are not just to the muscular-skeletal system.
When you lift heavy (the term heavy is relative to the individual) you briefly drive blood pressure up which causes several beneficial adaptations. Over time we see heart rate decrease while cardiac output and pulmonary efficiency increase.
As we age, we produce less and less of the hormones that made us healthy and vital in our youth. Insulin-like growth factor, human growth hormone, and testosterone (women make 1/40th that of men but they still needed it).
Good news! When you squat and deadlift heavy things your body generates a massive amount of these beneficial hormones. IGF1 and HGH also have been shown to have neuroprotective effects as well!
What’s the takeaway?
All of the items listed above increase your resistance to disease and injury, permit and promote an active lifestyle, compresses the morbidity of aging – pushing out the onset of decrepitude and improving the quality of life for years to come
Every time we strength train we are banking muscle tissue for the future.
The earlier you start the better but it’s never too late.
Interested in how to use strength training to avoid the pitfalls of aging? Talk to a coach it’s free!
Article courtesy of CrossFit Mass.