The Benefits of Maintaining Muscle’ by Kat Millar originally published in Great Health Guide (April 2016) is part of the GHG ‘Best of 2016’ Series. Learn some healthy ways to maintain your muscle strength that will lead to an overall healthier lifestyle. Enjoy the benefits of seeing and maintaining results with these tips from Kat
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Fitness: The Benefits of Maintaining Muscle
written by Kat Millar
There are many articles that talk about the benefits of increasing muscle and this is important, however you can also reap a host of benefits by simply maintaining your muscle. Training to maintain the muscle that you have, can be a powerful goal. This article will present the range of benefits of muscle maintenance and advise on ways to accomplish the healthy maintenance of your muscle.
Whether we like it or not, the inescapable truth is that our bodies are undergoing an ageing process. If we don’t take steps to reverse the process, such as doing regular, effective exercise, then over time we gradually get weaker, more unfit and invariably our posture and quality of life declines. This is especially important now, given the large amount of time sitting in front of devices at work and in the home.
The good news is that there are ways to slow the aging process and muscle maintenance is a great way to start!
The benefits of maintaining your muscle:
1. Muscle is metabolically active tissue and it helps your body to burn calories. It helps regulate your blood sugar.
2. Muscle gives your body its shape, curves and contours.
3. It allows you to more easily perform everyday physical activities like picking up heavy bags of groceries, carrying children and climbing stairs.
4. Muscle can help you keep fit, prevent disease and allows you to recover faster from injury.
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There are a number of physical benefits achieved by maintaining your muscle; however, there’s more than just the physical side. Exercise and lifting a reasonable amount of weight can help motivate you to be more disciplined in other areas of your lifestyle, such as healthy eating. Feeling strong and healthy is addictive and so is seeing results!
And, of course, firm muscle can generally just make us look better – clothes on or off!
One of the first steps in any exercise program is to have your General Medical Practitioner check your health and fitness before you commence. It’s also important to have a Fitness Professional teach you the correct technique and monitor your form, so that you are not practicing bad habits. If you’re not using resistance training, I highly advise that you add resistance training to your exercise routine and watch your body change. If you do it properly, you’ll look and feel better and stronger.
If you are already resistance training, remember to keep changing it and challenging your muscles with different routines and exercises. Programs have an expiry date – many things work, but nothing works forever. One of the most important laws in resistance training is the law of progressive overload, which is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise. You can manipulate a number of variables to provide an overload.
Are there any common pitfalls or mistakes people make?
The main mistakes are:
1. Thinking that because you’ve trained in the past, then that’s enough. It needs to be a regular practice in order to continue to experience the benefits. Remember that ‘what makes muscle, keeps muscle’.
2. Attempting to build muscle without sufficient nutrient intake. What many people tend to do when building or maintaining muscle, is to restrict their amount of calorie intake for too long.
3. Making the mistake of focusing on quantity of exercise rather than quality. This is the exact opposite of what you should do. Its not about doing more and more, it’s about finding the best exercises for you and doing them properly and consistently.
If you’re already doing some resistance training, perhaps it’s time for a new program if your current one is getting stale. If you haven’t started, add in resistance training and enjoy the benefits!