No matter what your fitness goals are, strength training should be a part of your routine — an important part of it. You can do all the cardio activities in the world and see results, but they won’t be nearly as good as the results you get when your routine includes weight training. If you are worried about over–bulking up (like Ah-nold), you won’t; the only way to go that far is to follow a bodybuilder’s regimen and diet, including supplements. If you think you need fancy equipment and expensive machines, you don’t; your body and its weight are plentiful. If you think you aren’t strong or fit enough to strength train, you don’t need to be particularly strong or fit; the main purpose of performing strengthening exercises is to make you stronger and fitter.  So, stop making excuses, get started and gain from these all the health benefits linked to weight training. Here are the top five reasons why you should get on this, now!

Strengthened muscles
Strength exercises help build strong muscles, giving our body composition higher muscle mass and improving body mechanics. Added strength makes many daily activities — such as lifting or moving objects, opening doors, carrying groceries or a baby — easier and safer to perform.

Increased bone density
Weight-bearing exercises have been proven to help maintain and even increase bone density. This is especially important for women as they get older and start to lose bone mass, becoming more prone to fractures.

Improved balance and coordination
Better muscle control leads to improved reflexes, allowing your body to react quicker to changes, as well as prevent falls. Stronger muscles provide more support to joints and help keep them stable.

More calories burned
When you are strength training, your body burns calories while you train and continues to burn calories while it recovers from the exercises and builds new muscle. Beyond that: the more your train, the higher your muscle mass, and the more calories your body burns at rest simply to maintain and fuel your muscles.

Toned and shaped body
The most visible results of strength training, and often the most desired ones, are the changes to your shape. Although your weight may not change much at times, your shape certainly will! You will see more muscle tone and your clothes will fit differently — the good kind of different!

For best results when weight training, you need to exercise your muscles regularly, take time to stretch after each workout, rest adequately to give your body time to recover and, last but not least, be mindful of your diet. To get started, find some exercise ideas, routines and apps that provide coaching in some of my previous blog posts. You can also ask friends who exercise or ask for help at gym or from a trainer. Or, ask me in the Comments!

Katya MohsenKatya Mohsen is a personal trainer with over 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.