Fall in Love with Feeling Stronger
You know strength training is good for you. It can bolster your bone density and reduce signs and symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, diabetes and depression. And yes, it keeps your weight under control. But even with all its mightiness, strength training may not be a priority on your to-do list. Here are some pointers on learning to fall in love with strength training:
Share in the strength.
Not only will scheduling a strength training session with a friend make you more likely to do it, you will probably push harder and get better results. A recent study found that working out with a friend not only makes you more likely to work out, it inspires you to work harder as you exercise, too.
Go for it with a gang.
Even better than exercising with one friend is strength training with a whole group as part of a fitness membership like Curves. In a recent study, researchers recruited 69 medical students and let them choose between a group exercise program or solo workout routine. At the end of 12 weeks, those who exercised in a group had increased mental wellbeing (12 percent boost), better physical fitness (24 percent increase) and enhanced emotional stability (up 26 percent). Those who worked out in their own, on the other hand, saw an 11 percent increase in mental wellbeing and got no increases in physical fitness or emotional stability.
Change it up.
If you do the same routine day in and day out, you may get bored and your muscles will, too. In a recent study done in Brazil, scientists compared four groups of exercisers. The first group did one routine over and over. The second did the same exercises but changed their reps. The third group did different exercises for the same number of reps. And the fourth group did different exercises and different numbers of reps. At the end of the study, the people who changed the exercises but did the same number of reps saw the most benefits, followed by the group who did the same exercises but different reps. The moral: If you constantly vary your activity, you will train more of your muscles. So, keep things interesting by challenging your muscles with different strength training classes. Curves’ specialty classes‡ focus on strength training in some form. Try Boxing one day, Body Basics the next, and Balance on the third day, and you will give all your muscle groups the challenge they need.
Reap the beauty benefits.
Recent research shows that when you work your muscles, you boost production of substances called myokines. These myokines appear to help skin look thicker, tauter, and younger than the skin of people who do not work out. An added bonus: the toned muscles beneath your skin will make you look younger and healthier still!
Pump yourself up.
To get yourself through the last few sets of a strength training workout—the moves that do the most to increase strength and tone—talk to yourself. Studies have shown that positive self-talk can enhance performance during exercise. Remind yourself of your goals, be they a target weight or simply to get stronger. Tell yourself you can do it and a little discomfort is worth it to achieve a healthier, more active future.
Even when we know all these good things about strength training, we all have days when we’re just not feeling it. For added motivation, reach out to your Curves community for support. Talk to your Curves Coach for tips on proper form and new moves to keep you going. And remember, all you need is a 30-minute total body workout—a mere 2 percent of your day—and you will feel 100% better, in body, mind, and spirit!