Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Keep Fit, Trim and Healthy with Resistance Training

When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, a negative calorie balance is key. That means that you have to 'subtract' calories from what you usually need for a stable weight each day so that you create a calorie deficit. This causes your body to use up some of its own stores as energy and the end result is weight loss. You can certainly do this with diet alone, but if you have a bigger appetite, you might shift your focus toward exercising a bit more to blast calories that way. In any case, physical activity is as important as eating well and can't be overlooked.

Many people think that cardio is the only way to go when it comes to exercise and they're afraid of resistance training. Yes, cardio blasts fat and calories, but so does resistance training. It just does it in a different way. There's a misconception that resistance training will make you bulk up, but if you use lighter weights, you're just toning and tightening those muscles. Who wouldn't want that? Even Yoga and Pilates count, as you're using your own body weight as resistance to strengthen and tone your muscles.

Resistance training is important in all stages of life, even in youth and adolescents. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has recently published a comprehensive paper on resistance training in children and adolescents, as many people fear that such exercise will stunt growth or cause other harm in those age groups. They found quite the contrary, in fact they noted that “Traditional fears associated with youth resistance training have been replaced with more recent findings that indicate that regular participation in weight-bearing physical activities is essential for normal bone growth and development.”. It is also important for the same reasons in later stages of life - weight bearing activities are necessary for bone health in addition to the maintenance of lean muscle mass.

It really is true what they say about lean muscle mass - use it or lose it - and you really can't afford to lose it if you want to maintain good health throughout the years! So go on, start with a pair of 5lb weights or sign up for a Yoga or Pilates class and see what you're capable of!


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