Which Form of Exercise Burns the Most Fat?
Truth be told, proper strength training gives us the biggest bang for our fitness buck, and in less time. Of course, walking, jogging and other aerobic activities can help you burn calories and improve fitness, but they do so insufficiently and with risk of injury.
How many runners do you know who have knee, hip and ankle issues? Over time, these issues can become significant and serious enough to keep you from even exercising at all.
Women & Strength Training
Don't worry ladies...strength training won't make you big and bulky. It's biologically impossible. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for increasing muscle size. So, unless you're a female bodybuilder taking anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone), you will not develop bulging muscle mass just by lifting some weights.
According to the American Heart Association, individuals benefit the most with an exercise program that includes strength training. It is the safest, most efficient and effective way to achieve a healthier and fitter body. If done properly, it sets off a wonderful cascade of metabolic changes that traditional aerobic exercise cannot. It's the number one tool for losing excess bodyfat and keeping it off permanently.
Other benefits include increased muscle strength, bone density, and metabolism along with improved circulation, blood sugar tolerance, and day-to-day functional movement. And the pièce de résistance...an improved appearance and body shape!
Benefits to the Cardiovascular System
But, how does strength training make you healthier and fitter? At the most basic level, it improves the metabolic health of your muscular system - the largest organ in the body. And, surprisingly, most other bodily organs such as the heart and lungs exist primarily to serve the muscular system. The vast majority of the body's blood vessels resides within the muscular system. Keeping it healthy, therefore, keeps the cardiovascular system healthy.
The muscular system is a unique organ. Unlike the liver, kidney, heart and lungs, strength training can stop and even reverse its decline. Thankfully, by increasing muscle mass, it triggers a host of benefits to other body organ systems. Fitter muscles are better able to extract oxygen from the blood thereby putting less demand on the heart and lungs.The liver starts to work more efficiently too.
Build Fat-Burning Furnaces
Why is strength training more productive than traditional aerobic exercise? Not only does it provide a whole-body workout. but it also utilizes the most energy of the body's systems. During strength training, muscles use more blood and consume the most sugar and fat for fuel. And, muscles continue to burn calories at an elevated rate for hours after a strength training workout.
At the cellular level, muscle contains little fat-burning furnaces that produce energy. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more fat and calories you burn, even at rest. Strength training allows you to build a calorically high-maintenance body, which is the best way to achieve maximum permanent fat loss.
Strength training is like flipping a switch that turns on all those fat-burning furnaces, and it keeps them on for a substantial period of time after you're done. So, the more muscle you build, the more furnaces you create, and the more fat you'll burn. You become a lean, mean fat-burning machine!
Effective for All Ages
Another fact of life is that after the age of twenty, we start to lose muscle mass. Loss of muscle brings a drop in metabolism. Between the ages of twenty and forty, we can lose as much as 40 percent. After fifty, we lose about one percent each year. Surprisingly, studies show this decline happens regardless of how sedentary or physically active we are.
The good news is that muscle has a memory. It can be reactivated to grow back to its previous size. By regularly engaging in strength training, you can restore the level of muscle mass you had at age twenty and be just as strong or stronger. In addition to the fat-burning benefits, strength training is a great anti-aging tool. You're never too old to build muscles and get fit!