“Your body wants to be as fit and strong and gorgeous as you want it to be. Its instinct is to be powerful and resilient. The whole purpose of its existence is to keep you strong and capable because nature programmes us for survival.” Cameron Diaz, The Body Book
Strong is Healthy
Muscular strength is one of the greatest predictors of health. Strong muscles, tendons and ligaments provide support for your bones and joints, reduce your risk of chronic illnesses and decrease your risk of injury. While it’s true that muscle mass diminishes as we get older, smart strength training can build it up at any age. It also increases your bone density which prevents osteoporosis, boosts your stamina, improves your posture, enhances your balance and increases the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. It really is crucial for optimal health.
Strong is Happy
Without adequate physical strength, you limit what you are capable of. Imagine how it would feel if you could jump into every experience that presented itself to you. If you had no aches, pains or physical limitations holding you back. If you woke up every day with an attitude of adventure, daring and bravery. Think what you could accomplish! Being physically strong, is an incredibly empowering feeling. Strength training also improves your mood, reduces stress and relieves the symptoms of depression by increasing levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.
Strong is Beautiful
A strong body is a beautiful body. When you are strong, you can see definition in your arms and legs, your stomach is firmer and you have a lot more energy. We are biologically programmed to be attracted to men and women who look fertile, healthy and athletic as these are signs that you will make a great partner and parent. The most obvious way to tell this from the outside is if you can see visible muscle, energy and stamina. When you are strong, you feel powerful and you exude a beautiful, sexy confidence.
Why You Should Try Yoga for Strength Training
- – Yoga is a form of bodyweight strength training that has many unique benefits.
- – Yoga recruits entire muscle groups as opposed to focussing on isolated body parts
- – Yoga integrates multiple muscle groups to work together
- – Yoga strengthens the deep core stabilizer muscles
- – Yoga incorporates isometric, eccentric and concentric movements
- – Yoga involves multiple planes of motion
- – Yoga is not demanding on the joints
- – Yoga can be done anywhere with minimal equipment
- – Yoga encourages greater body awareness
- – Practicing barefoot strengthens the muscles in the feet, arches, ankles and lower legs
- – Yoga recognizes the importance of the breath
- – Yoga is endlessly variable which means you are more likely to stick with it
Strength Training Tips
- Be consistent. Work on your strength at least 3 times a week, giving yourself a day to recover between each session.
- Push yourself. Muscles only grow in strength if you continue to add intensity to your training.
- Have fun! Put your strong, powerful, beautiful body to the test. Go to a gymnastics class, take up kickboxing or jujitsu, sign up for an obstacle race, volunteer to help your friend move house!
Yoga for Strength Routine
Abi Carver designs 15-minute yoga routines to improve flexibility, balance and strength, de-stress and to ease aches and pains. Her app,Yoga 15, is available on the App Store.
Images: Graham Mattock; JuanJo Sieiro