When considering weight-loss, the first thoughts that often come to mind are to toss out those cookies and jump on the treadmill. While these are good first steps to take, many individuals rely solely on some form of cardiovascular training (e.g. treadmill, elliptical, etc.) as the primary method to lose weight or maintain a current weight. However, research has shown that by adding some form of strength training to a work-out routine, weight-loss results are quicker and longer lasting.
Lean muscle tissue increases an individual’s metabolism. The higher the ratio of lean muscle tissue to body fat, the more calories that individual will burn even while they are not actively exercising. That is the beauty of this. Two fictional people, Amanda and Betty, will serve as an example. Both Amanda and Betty each weigh 130 pounds. Of that 130 pounds, Amanda’s body is comprised of approximately 70 percent lean muscle tissue and 30 percent fat.
Betty’s body composition is 40 percent lean muscle and 60 percent fat. Although both women weigh the same amount on the scale, Amanda is actually burning calories at a higher rate due to her higher percentage of lean muscle mass. Lean muscle muscle mass can be increased by incorporating even light strength training into the weight-loss program.
As people age, they lose muscle mass. Beginning around the age of 35, people will begin to lose approximately 10 percent of their lean muscle tissue each decade. As the example of Amanda and Betty shows, this loss of muscle tissue often leads to a decrease in metabolism, which in turn makes losing weight (or more accurately, fat) even more challenging the older one gets.
Thankfully, this does not have to be the case. By simply engaging in some form of strength training, individuals can significantly reduce the loss of muscle due to aging while simultaneously increasing their metabolism. Strength training exercises that concentrate on the larger muscle groups, such as the back and legs, can provide more “bang for the buck” due to their relatively large size. When pressed for time, concentrate on the larger muscle groups.
Effective weight-loss programs require more than simply walking or running on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical. Although cardiovascular training is an important component to any weight-loss program, it should not be used exclusively. Adding strength training to a weight-loss program will promote quicker results while simultaneously decreasing the muscle loss that occurs with age.