Regardless of age or fitness level, strength training plays a very important role in our overall health. Exercise in general can be one of the best methods used to prevent both mental and physical diseases. Regular muscle strengthening has been shown to help manage blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, as well as prevent and control heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As we age the need for strength training becomes even more important. Physically inactive people from the age of 30 may lose 3 to 5 percent of the muscle mass every year. But this doesn’t have to mean you’ll end up frail. The problem is most people will avoid heavy lifting and focus more on cardiovascular exercise to build fitness and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In reality, everyone should have a component of strength training in their fitness routine.
Without getting any further into the obvious health benefits of strength training, I’ll give my position lifting heavy and what it really means to me.
As most of you who are reading this know, I enjoy exercise and lifting weights. I prefer lifting heavy, but I also include some conditioning from time to time. It’s all about Balance! For me, fitness and strength training means Freedom! It should hold the same importance to you as well. Let me explain what I mean by that.
I lift heavy because being strong and fit gives me Freedom outside of the gym to live my life fully and without limitations. I can do the things I need to do in everyday life without worry. Isn’t that what we all want as we move through our lives? The physical strength to live independently? The capability to play sports, go for a hike, try something new, chase our children and grandchildren? The point is I’m not limited in my physical ability so I can tackle whatever life throws at me. Knowing that gives me a stronger, more positive mental attitude towards life as well.
Not everyone’s idea of strength is the same and not everyone is looking to lift small cars off the side of the road. (Small goal of mine) we train to say we can! We train for the benefit of independence without having to lean on anyone for help. That is what this is all about.
CrossFit is hard, but so is life! Whenever you think you have the hang of something we keep it interesting and throw something new at you just to keep you evolving. Because like life every day is a new obstacle or puzzle to solve. Showing up and training to be stronger gives you the ability to conquer all tasks. Training on days when you are tired or down will build enormous mental strength. Squeezing out one more rep before the clock runs out, pushing a little bit harder to beat your previous time or just completing a workout are all ways to build on your own internal strength.
Everyone’s goal should be to gain strength and improve upon whatever you did yesterday! That doesn’t necessarily mean you must look like a Superhero. It just means pushing yourself past your own mental limitations and getting past the multitude of obstacles life can throw at you daily. Be better tomorrow than you were today!
I don’t train because I want to carry heavy things around, I train because I never want to be told ‘I CAN’T!’ That’s freedom!
It’s a privilege to wake up and be alert every day, so train with a purpose! The really good news is — it’s never too late to get started, even if you’ve never picked up a weight in your life.