Too often the focus on gaining muscle mass is how it makes us look. Either we’re concerned with getting more of it to look stronger, or we’re afraid of gaining it because we’ll look too strong. If it were up to me, this wouldn’t even be part of the conversation around gaining muscle mass. It’s not all about getting those abs. At the end of the day, I’m interested in being healthy so I can continue to be active and uninhibited throughout my life. And muscle mass is one of the best ways to get to that point, and stay there.
Today I’m sharing some of the best arguments for working on gaining muscle mass. No, it’s not so you can have the “perfect” beach body (step one: have a body, step two: go to the beach). It’s so you can be more empowered in your own day-to-day life. It’s so you can improve your health and combat potential chronic diseases down the road. And yeah, you’re probably going to end up looking pretty great too. But that will happen by accident while you’re trying to be the healthiest, most badass version of yourself possible. Let’s go!
You’ll have more energy for your daily activities
You’ve probably heard that getting more exercise improves your energy levels, and that’s thanks to muscle mass. Gaining muscle mass improves your metabolism, blood pressure, and even your mood. That translates to days with more energy and less fatigue, which sounds pretty good to me! It’s hard to explain in words how getting stronger will improve your daily life. Yes, with more muscle mass I’m able to carry ALL my grocery bags into the house in one go. I can clean the house without getting an achy back. But what’s even more incredible is how well my energy is conserved after doing these things. Doing a strenuous activity like packing up a house to move doesn’t have to end with me taking a full day off to rest, and that is huge.
Increased muscle mass gives you stronger bones
Thanks to those “Got Milk” ads from the 90’s and early 2000’s, milk (and calcium) gets all the spotlight when it comes to strong bones and combatting osteoporosis. Actually, gaining muscle mass can be extremely effective at strengthening your bones. A study that looked at men who engaged in strength-training exercise for over a year were compared to men of the same age and weight who did not. The strength-training group had more bone mineral density than the non-strength-training group. Even athletes in varying disciplines show greater bone density than their non-exercising counterparts.
Decreases your risk of becoming diabetic
I’ll be the first to admit, as a young woman in her late twenties, getting the ‘betis isn’t exactly on my mind all the time. But many young people are struggling with pre-diabetic symptoms without even knowing it. I count myself as one of those. Despite never being told so by a doctor, I struggled with insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes down the road. Cleaning up my diet was the first (and best) line of defense. But my newly adopted hobby of climbing also helped reverse my insulin resistance. This isn’t just anecdotal, studies like this show a strong relationship between increasing muscle and lowering risk of pre-diabetes.
You’re less likely to become injured
When I first started lifting weights, I was pretty terrified of getting injured. I watched countless YouTube videos, read blog posts and articles, all to make sure my form was as perfect as possible. What’s funny is that I never considered how much more at risk for injury I was before I started gaining muscle mass. Larger muscles means stronger connective tissues and ligaments, and better stability. This means that I’m less likely to be sidelined from my favorite hobbies like hiking or climbing by a sprained ankle or tennis elbow. Even picking up commonplace items like boxes or grocery bags are less risky, with a stronger back.
As you know, I’ve built my daily life around gaining and maintaining muscle through both climbing and lifting. These are just a couple of ways that you can build muscle mass. It’s all about finding what you love and are passionate about! Be it yoga, martial arts, or whatever lights you up!