Chamber Insider Blog

Strong is the New Skinny

Written by Nicole Ann Gustavson, Owner, InForm Fitness

As modern gals, we do it all these days: career, family, interests and hobbies, social networks, higher personal development, etc. Today, our focus need be on our health, not our “skinny.” Our functional ability and stamina, depend on our strength: the more muscular strength we have, the more we can do, and the better we will age (and the more fun we will have doing it). 

While we have been and continue to be, for a large part, a visually oriented society, we have admittedly exercised predominately for visual affect: to “lose weight” – we have long figured that if we looked good, we’d feel good, and as a corollary, that we were fit and healthy. Wrong. Rather than exercising to lose weight, our focus should be to gain muscle and lose fat – two separate processes – for optimal movement, energy and protection from injury. 

For women especially, muscle truly is the key to health and fitness. Many of the health problems we encounter as we get older, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, impaired cardiac function, weight gain due to decreasing metabolism and loss of glucose sensitivity, joint pain, loss of balance and injury, etc., can be traced back to the fact that we lose muscle as we age. So, it follows that one of the best things you can do to enhance your overall health and fitness is to make sure you don’t continue to lose muscle and that you try to build new muscle.

Benefits of increased Muscle Mass as We Age

  • Improve Metabolic Rate.
  • Increase Bone Mineral Density.
  • Improve Glucose Metabolism. Poor glucose metabolism is associated with adult onset diabetes.
  • Increase Gastrointestinal Transit Time. Delayed gastrointestinal transit time is related to a higher risk of colon cancer.
  • Reduce Resting Blood Pressure.
  • Improve Blood Lipid Levels.
  • Reduce Low Back Pain and Potential for Injury.
  • Reduce Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritic Pain.
  • Reduce Depression. Greater muscle strength is associated with greater self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life.

What about “bulking up”?

For women who strength train, bulking up is remote – we simply lack the genetic predisposition and hormonal profiles. But, we will tone up for sure. Well-developed back and shoulder muscles will improve posture, toned arm and leg muscles direct the upper arms and thighs, calve muscles the appearance of the legs (and help prevent the formation of varicose veins), pectoral muscles enhance the lift of the bust, etc.  If you are after a younger looking, more vibrant feminine body, you want more muscle. And, added muscle improves our appearance with definition and helps to fight gravity, holding up our desirable body fat in the right places.

Building muscle is the best way to proactively combat the myriad problems associated with ageing, supercharge the metabolism and increase cardiovascular endurance. If your “get up and go” has gotten up and gone, then resistance training is the way to go. Remember that our skeletal muscles serve as the engine, chassis, and shock absorbers of our bodies.

 Written by Nicole Ann Gustavson, Owner, InForm Fitness

Interested in our Health & Wellness Initiative or our Business Women of Loudoun Group? These upcoming events may interest you:

Healthy Business Awards & Networking Social, June 13th, 5:30 – 8:30, TopGolf Loudoun

Business Women of Loudoun Summer Networking Social, July 12th, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar