By Matt O'Neill, MSc(Nut&Diet), APD
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Building muscle is not just for body builders. It should be a metabolic fitness and body shaping goal for everyone because there are so many benefits.
Here are 7 reasons to make building and maintaining muscle a priority:
1. Muscle burns calories at rest
Every kilogram of muscle on your body burns 10 Cal (42kJ) at rest every day. Put on 5kg of muscle and this equals over 18,000 Cal (75600 kJ) per year additional energy-burn or the equivalent of burning off almost 2.5kg body fat.
2. Muscle costs calories to move
Building muscle gives you more lean weight to carry around when you move. This means you burn more calories in every exercise session.
3. Muscle reduces blood sugar levels
Even at rest, muscle is highly effective at using blood sugars for energy. Adding muscle will enhance your blood glucose regulation and lower insulin levels, which will help you stay lean.
4. Muscle prevents falls
Keeping muscle as you age is one of the best defences against frailty-related falls. Strong legs, arms and abdominals will keep you upright and help you stabilise if you fall.
5. Muscle makes it easier to do stuff
The stronger you are, the easier it is to carry shopping bags, do household tasks and all the recreational activities you enjoy. More muscle means less fatigue.
6. Muscle makes your bones stronger
Weight bearing exercise that builds muscle also helps maintain bone mineral density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
7. Muscle makes you look better
Reducing body fat makes you look smaller, but building muscle gives you that fit, toned, athletic look. Working on your core muscles helps tighten your abdominals and can even give you some bumps that you'd like to see.
If you haven't already added weight training to your fitness routine, book your next resistance training session. If you are not sure of the specific exercises to do, ask a Registered Personal Trainer to show you an effective program and motivate you to complete your workouts.
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