Question – Is it bad to stop weight training if I don’t enjoy it?

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Answer – While it’s important to find exercise you enjoy because that’s exercise you’ll actually do, I don’t think it’s wise to forgo weight training entirely.  You don’t have to lift iron in a gym setting, but for health, fitness, and longevity you should continue to lift heavy things.

You need to challenge your muscles with progressive overload (increasing weight as you get used to current weight). The benefits to body composition, hormone balance, and aging through strength training beats everything else.

Do body weight exercises or full body activities that use strength and explosive power, like rock climbing or hiking or boxing, if that is more appealing. Aerobic activity alone, like running or swimming, will actually break down muscle. Alternatively, strength training IS aerobic training: it increases mitochondria just like aerobic, but aerobic doesn’t grow muscle size or add more muscle fiber.

Maintaining lean body mass is impossible as we age without plenty of protein and lifting heavy things to maintain and even grow that muscle, no matter what our age. And we need lean body mass, because it’s one of the best predictors of longevity and recovery from accident and illness.

Visceral fat is the kind around your organs and it responds best to exercise, while the subcutaneous fat everyone is concerned with is a matter of diet. But it’s the visceral fat that is most dangerous.

So find some kind of activity that puts stress on your muscles to grow. Your heart and everything else in your body will thank you.

 

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