Updated: Dec 4, 2020
"Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you've got a kingdom."
This is so true! Nutrition matters because it feeds exercise. If you aren't eating enough, or if you're eating food with poor nutritional value, your body will limp through exercise.
However, exercise is the backbone of weight loss and crucial for good health, too. Developing and maintaining strong exercise habits is particularly important for weight management.
Cardiorespiratory exercise includes activities that strengthen the heart, blood vessels, and lungs.
People who engage in regular cardiorespiratory exercise are healthier and live longer.
Cardiorespiratory exercise burns calories, but it's simply not enough. Strength training is crucial to weight loss and weight management.
Here's why. As we get older, our metabolism, or the rate at which our body works, slows down. A slower metabolism means you burn fewer calories. For women, metabolism usually begins to downshift in their 30s. I swear, I think my metabolism slowed halfway down on my 30th birthday! Men typically experience this metabolic slowdown later in life, in their mid-to-late 40s.
As we age, we gradually begin to lose muscle mass, too. Even if you're engaging in strength training, you'll still lose a little bit of muscle every year. Your muscles burn a lot of calories even when you're not using them so that gradual loss of muscle mass means you need fewer calories to maintain your weight. That makes it harder to maintain weight—let alone lose it!
So what is strength training? It's any activity that makes muscles work harder than they normally do. And one method of strength training is weight training, in which you use weights to challenge your muscles to work harder. You can weight train using hand weights, weight machines, or free weights. You can lift lighter weights for many repetitions, heavier weights for fewer repetitions, or do what's called slow lifting, where you lift a heavy weight for fewer repetitions, but each repetition lasts longer.