How Strong is the Emotional Benefit of Strength Training?

Biggest Benefit of Strength Training: More Activity

There you have it. Spoiler alert – I just gave you the bottom line. Strength training more than any other type of exercise boostsmotivation more movement. It does it largely due to the emotional benefit of strength training.

Yes, you’ll get stronger. You’ll love the way your clothes fit. You’ll turn heads as you improve posture and walk with a confident, I’ve-got-a-secret-weapon attitude. You’ll have a better libido. You’ll avoid illnesses and injuries. You’ll bounce back faster if they happen. You’ll live independently later.

But you can’t get a single benefit of strength training without the special sauce.

How can I get motivated to exercise?

I just can’t stick with it.

I’ve heard it. You’ve said it. (or maybe you’re among the few and proud who have not!) 

Aging Better Facts

It’s well published and widely known if you want to change or control the way you age, you have to keep your muscle. Muscle losses start as early as your 30s. It’s easy to lose up to 50% of your muscle by age 70. But it’s not a given. If you lift weights (properly) you can avoid this condition called sarcopenia.

Trends Not to Follow

Muscle loss is usually accompanied by fat gains. Contrary to the myth you need to do lots of cardio to burn fat, you need to lift weights to keep muscle to avoid gaining fat. In doing so you create more metabolically active tissue. You also prevent the effect of age acceleration that occurs with too much cardiovascular activity.

Yes, oxidative stress increases, and cortisol, growth hormone, and testosterone all suffer with too much cardio activity. The result?  Muscle loss creates the opportunity for fat. Fill your path to 70 with weight training that consistently follows a few principles of “adequate strength training” and you’ll have avoided muscle losses that will otherwise happen.

If you are a women in midlife, pay attention. What you learned and did in your 20s and 30s is going to make you fatter, slower, and more depressed. Sad and blunt truth but true. You will tank diminishing hormones even further by doing tons of cardio. Do you tend to do MORE of what’s not working? Get hurt frequently? Feel like you’re getting more bloated, more cellulite, more anxious or exhausted? Your hormones are messaging you – shouting, really – that this sh** you’re doing is NOT working!

Other Big Benefits of Strength Training

Before you get to 70 celebrating better strength and body composition than your walking or Pilates-only-please friends, you can enjoy better libido, carry the same load (or more) you did 10 years ago with ease, and have unlimited choices in the way you spend your free time.

The secret to staying motivated to exercise is not so ironically in the exercise. A year-long study published in 2018 showed that participation in a strength training program influenced continued participation among previously sedentary older adults.

Motivation, self-efficacy, and planning were measured during the study at 3 and 9 months. Continued participation was measured at 6 and 12-months intervals after the study. Near 50% of those in the study continued voluntarily lifting weights.

Defining the Terms

Motivation  – the desire or will to do something, the choice or reason someone will do something

Self-efficacy– the belief that your choices control your outcome

Extrinsic motivation– based on outside influence, to avoid punishment, or to gain praise or rewards, to satisfy a task, or complete a program

Intrinsic motivation– based on an individual’s thoughts, beliefs and knowledge, for personal perceived benefits and determination

The Importance of Planning

Strength training-related planning has many facets. You first have to plan the time to exercise. Then you’ve got to have a plan of action for that time in a session. Knowledge of exactly what you’ll do including what exercises, in what order, how many times, at what speed makes a well laid out plan.

Not so ironically, you won’t be as likely to plan exercise unless you have a plan for action in that session and you tie it to results you want.

Have you let trips and events, projects, and holidays, or crisis interfere with regular exercise? Have they been the obstacle that threw you off schedule never to return again?

Without even knowing it’s happening, your subconscious may be weighing the advantages of allocating time to something you have no confidence will improve your current status.

Your Most Valuable Plan Component

The most important quality of a plan is your ability of tying it to the outcome that you want. You’re not likely to go into action if you don’t have confidence that what you’re doing will help you.

A good plan connects what to do with how it will help you get from where you are now to where you want to go.

If you don’t understand the connection between what you’re doing and the outcome you want, ask!

A supervised program with incentives, encouragement, and structure can provide the motivation to get you started. A program offers extrinsic motivation that might come from the investment of funds. It might come from the public announcement that you’re doing this. It might come because you’ll get some kind of reward or incentive (insurance premium lowered or work wellness program t-shirt).

Even More Benefits

Strength training doesn’t only decrease the rate at which muscle mass and strength are lost.You can increase muscle mass after 50. Studies even show you can gain muscle in your 10thdecade.

Strength training helps avoid cognitive decline. It’s been shown to have a positive effect on preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. It helps improve mood. It helps decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, exercise interventions may work more effectively than medications and cognitive therapies, without negative side effects.

At the start of this post, I basically wrote when you feel stronger you do more. When you’ve exercised consistently for a period of time doing the right thing, you gain not only strength but confidence and self-efficacy.

That opens the world to you.

The best way to take a step toward regular strength training? If you’re serious about longevity and loving your energy, body, and life with the help of strength training, you need a plan.

Spend 8 weeks with me (Starts Aug 1, 2019)and work on your motivation to move. If you’ve not been strength training regularly, this twice per week program is the start you need. If you’re a woman in perimenopause, menopause, or post menopause it was designed for you! It’s based on research and successful protocols with women in perimenopause and beyond subjects.

It’s not your daughter’s or your mom’s workout.

Doors are open RIGHT NOW and if you miss the early bird special you’ll still be able to get in for a great rate… but who doesn’t love to save?


You Might Also Like:

How to Start Strength Training Part I

How to Start Strength Training Part II

Why Strength Training for Women 50+ is a Must

Strength Training Programs for Hormones, Menopause, and Metabolism

Strength Training Mistakes that Cost You Bones and Muscles

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Circumference outside of both arms, at the armpit

Right Triceps
Halfway btwn shoulder & elbow, arm extended.

Find the widest point of girth at the hips

Right Thigh
Standing with weight on both legs, measure halfway between knee cap and hip flexor

Right Calf
Standing with weight on both legs, find the largest point of calf.

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