Strength training is not just for bodybuilders, nor does it have to make you bulk up impossibly like Chris Hemsworth, nor do you even need a clunky set of weights to achieve your goals. Strength training is suitable and beneficial at any age and any level of intensity.
All you need is a minimum of 20-30 minutes, twice a week, and some sort of structured routine that works specific muscle groups on specific days. The latter can easily be found on the internet—there are myriad workout routines for all levels, using both equipment and plain body weight; YouTube is especially good. Oh, and you’ll also need some discipline and willpower—this shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who’s started their own business.
So, here are six benefits of strength training…
1. Increases metabolism
According to a 2014 study, strength training is actually more efficient at regulating body fat than cardio. The reason is that any reasonably high-intensity strength training triggers a temporary metabolic boost, because your body needs to work extra hard to cool down and repair afterwards. Also, long-term strength training that builds lean muscle—achieved with lower weights and higher reps—increases your resting metabolic rate. Basically, you’ll be burning fat even when you’re at your desk or relaxing at home.
2. Better mental health
It’s well-known that any form of exercise releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins, but this study found that resistance training, specifically, reduces the frequency and intensity of depressive symptoms, as well as anxiety. What’s more, the feeling of bettering your previous best as well as seeing the physical results of training are proven to raise your confidence levels.
3. Makes everyday activities easier
Whether it’s walking up stairs, taking out the rubbish, carrying heavy shopping or shifting boxes around your garage in a desperate attempt to clean it up, strength training just makes these things easier to do. Plus you’re far less likely to end up couch-bound and full of ibuprofen after some unexpected heavy-lifting.
4. Better posture
Running a business requires a lot of time sat at your desk. Over the long-term, this plays havoc with your spine and general torso. If you’re not careful, you can end up with a curved back and rounded shoulders, which is never a good look. Regular strength training hardens your core, which naturally aids solid posture (and gives you thoroughly show-offable abs).
5. Enhances other athletic performance
While strength training itself will make you fit, if you’re, say, a runner or a cyclist, lifting weights will only better your overall performance. By increasing your above-mentioned core strength, you’ll run and cycle more efficiently and experience less stiffness and back pain after a long day in the saddle. Working your legs also increases muscular endurance and helps you pedal with more power.
6. You will probably live longer
While cardio is often cited for its benefits on heart-health, thanks to its fat-burning capabilities, resistance training has also been found to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only that, this 15-year long study concluded that those who strength trained twice a week had 46 percent lower odds of “all-cause mortality” than those who did not. I imagine this stat alone is enough to make you want to start curling those biceps asap.