Working out your upper body is about more than just looking good. Having toned arms and shoulders is always a nice bonus, but there are real health benefits to having upper body strength! Here are some of our favourite reasons for building and maintaining a strong upper body:
1. Injury and Aging: Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels shares that “If your upper body strength deteriorates as you age, you are more prone to injuries, disease and a diminished quality of life.
You naturally tend to lose muscle as you age. That is called sarcopenia and begins as early as your 20s. You can lose up to 40 percent of your muscle mass by the time you reach your 60s. Loss of muscle mass in your upper body can have a great effect on other aspects of your life. For example, if you injure your lower extremities and require the use of crutches, upper body strength allows you to remain mobile. The same is true if you find yourself in a wheelchair temporarily or need the use of a walker.” – Source: ‘Why Is Upper Body Strength Important’
2. Posture and Form: The amount of time we spend hunching over phones, computers, desks and behind the wheel of our cars, most of us suffer from some imbalances relating to our posture.
The best way to achieve proper posture is to tone back and shoulder muscles, strengthening them to hold the top half of your body up. Distance runners especially benefit from a strong upper body, as shoulders tend to slump and hunch as runners get fatigued. The drooped posture will ultimately slow runners down and could result in injury for them once they’re done running. Strong shoulders are also important for those who bicycle for exercise. Those riding for speed bend the top half of their body toward their handlebars, with arms and shoulders taking a good chunk of the impact and force of the ride. Source: ‘Why Upper Body Exercises Are Crucial’
3. Trim down and boost your metabolism:Are you having trouble trimming down? In addition to high intensity exercise, strength training is an excellent way to get rid of that stubborn, excess body fat, because working your muscles is the key to firing up your metabolism.
Your muscles follow the “use it or lose it” principle. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. Unlike traditional cardio, strength training causes you to continue burning more calories for up to 72 hours after the exercise is over through a phenomenon called after-burn. High intensity strength training or super-slow weight training also has profound effects on your insulin and leptin sensitivity and gives you an excellent boost in human growth hormone (HGH), otherwise known as the “fitness hormone.” Source: ‘A Beginners Guide to Strength Training’