Strength Training and How It Benefits Us by Maria Khaled RD, LD

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I often think about my childhood years, in particular middle school and high school, and some of the healthy habits I developed along the way. First, what comes to mind are my wonderful middle school years, where I participated in sports such as cheerleading and softball, at Santa Maria School where I attended from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Some fond memories I have are being on the softball team and being really good at hitting the ball. I remember hitting several home runs for my team and  I use to score and always felt a sense of pride when my team cheered me on and we won the game. I remember throwing the ball with my dad in the backyard and practicing hitting and fielding- nice memories!

Also, I remember being a Santa Maria School cheerleader- wearing blue and white tops and skirts and cheering for the boys’ basketball games, which my brother was on. I remember doing our half-time shows at at the basketball games where we would do our cheers and then get in line, do our individual jumps and say our first names, lol, with the crowd watching and cheering on in the gymnasium with the red felt luxorious looking curtains and chairs with people in them looking back at us in the gym. 

Also, we attended cheerleading competitions at Spellman Highschool and it was always intense. This was always fun to do and I still remember some of the cheers to this day. In addition, I do also remember being President of my 7th grade class which was an honor as I remember we had an election, gave speeches and were elected by our fellow classmates.

Funny because I also remember when we had a physical education competition where the 7th graders would compete against the 8th graders- top people in each event and I remember winning the sit-up competition for my class verse an 8th grade boy. We had to see who did the most sit-ups in 60 seconds and since I loved exercise and doing sit-ups at the time, it was easy for me and I did a ton in that 60 seconds (I honestly do no remember the exact number) but it was a blowout and I remember classmates being shocked because of how many I did and I beat a boy with ease.

It was all good clean fun competition and just made me realize that I actually was talented in exercise (at least sit-ups) and it stemmed from my own love for keeping myself in shape and developing healthy habits, a quality my dad instilled in me at an early age.

Growing up in the Bronx, New York, I remember my dad (pictured ab9ve in his early Army years) instilling the importance of exercise, in particular strength training, to maintain your health, and also to be strong physically and develop healthy habits. He had told my brother and I stories about his early army days and how he himself loved exercise and weight training.

He use to lift weights and tell us stories of how guys would bet on him to lift the front end of a car, and he was able to actually do it (yes, lift the front end of a car a bit off the ground) and defy the odds! He also told us how he would arm wrestle a lot and win and always loved to strength train and body build.

I remember him talking about lifting weights and had weights and exercise equipment in our basement, which both my brother and I would develop a love for. We had a weight bench, leg curl equipment, a ton of dumb bells, bars and a stationary bike with a stereo where we would blast all of our favorite old school music. This pastime did instill in us healthy habits of exercise and strength training to help in all areas of life- physically, mentally and spiritually.

Although I remember a dark, small basement at the time, it was such a safe haven for me because I found peace and contentment when I exercised and meditated on my goals, using the music to inspire and push me to work harder- a quality instilled in me that I have never forgotten. Strength training for me helped me develop physical strength and self esteem, but also a sense of meditation and contentment that could not really be described- unless felt and I truly enjoyed it.

So, the importance of strength training, is vital on our path to wellness and developing health habits. Why is weight lifting, or strength training, a health benefit on our path to wellness? I will highlight a few key reasons why this form of exercise should be incorporated into our routines for maximum physical health.

First, according to the Mayo Clinic, strength training not only helps with weight control but also stops bone loss and can even build new bones. Weight training can reduce the risk of fractures and improve balance while boosting energy levels. These are great reasons to strength train- reduce fractures, improve balance and energy levels- why wouldn’t we want to include weights in our workouts?

Also, weight training can help prevent osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercise, done 3- 4 times a week, can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition people face as they age. Studies show that weight training over a period time really protects against developing osteoporosis and may even build new bones. How fascinating is this? Weight training also contributes to building lean muscle, in combination with good nutrition and enough protein in your diet.

The most important thing you can do when starting is to develop a plan and incorporate weights in to your routine at least 3- 4 times a week. If you have never worked out with weights, you can speak to a personal trainer about exercise, form, routine or research these for yourselves.

The goal is to really understand that the idea of weights only building muscle is a limited perspective. Understanding that weight lifting, in combination with good nutrition, helps control weight, prevent osteoporosis, boost energy levels, reduce fractures and help develop lean muscle while building physical strength. These are all great reasons to incorporate it into your routine!

Contact Nutrition Wellness at 407-698-3121 to schedule your Nutrition or Reiki Energy consult today!

Believe it and You Will Achieve it!






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