It's hard not to stare at the scale after resuming your fitness routine once the holidays are over. Dinner tables covered with scrumptious dishes, and festive drinks and treats can quickly do a number on your overall body weight. But getting back in shape after indulging during the holidays shouldn't just be about the number on the scale. Here's why muscle mass is the secret to optimal health and staying slim.
- More than just calories: Building muscle mass helps strengthen connective tissues, which increases bone density. By doing this, you're reducing your risk for injury, and your chance of getting osteoporosis later in life.
Here are more reasons why muscle mass is important .
- Muscle increases metabolic rate: The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. You read that correctly; by doing absolutely nothing, you can actually burn calories thanks to your mighty muscles. One pound of muscle uses about six calories a day to sustain itself, while one pound of fat burns just two calories daily. And after a session of resistance training, you'll burn even more since your muscles all over your body are activated. In layman terms, your muscles eat up calories even when you're not working out.
- Muscle perks: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have also found that exercise, which build muscles (here's how to start your own strength training routine), can actually help to improve balance, improve blood-sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health.
- The power of the afterburn: Want to burn even more calories? In a study from the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, it was found that women who lifted 85 percent of their maximum load for eight reps than when they did more reps at a lower weight burned twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout.