Muscular strength and endurance can affect many aspects of your life. When you build the strength of individual muscles, it allows you to exert more force with those muscles. When you build your endurance, you're able to exert more force over longer periods of time. In turn, this gives you more energy in your daily life. When you have more lean muscle mass, you can also improve your metabolic rate, which means the number of calories you burn while resting increases.
The amount of force your muscles produce against resistance is your muscular strength. You use muscular strength to lift weights, to push or pull objects or to lift your body from a prone position. The stronger your muscles, the easier it is for you to perform such tasks, both in the gym and as you go through your day, shovelling the sidewalk, mowing the lawn, or carrying your kids around.
Muscular endurance is different from muscular strength. Your muscular endurance is determined by the amount of time your muscles can contract during a specific period. Simple daily activities, such as walking and stair climbing, require muscle endurance, as do exercises like swimming and running. The greater your endurance levels, the longer you can participate in an activity without feeling tired.
Both cardiovascular exercise and strength training can help you increase your muscular strength and endurance. Examples of cardio exercise include running, cycling, swimming and sports, like basketball or soccer. Start with short spans of exercise for 20 minutes or so and then increase your speed, distance and time as your endurance builds. Strength training exercises include working with weight machines, free weights and kettlebells, as well as press-ups, crunches and pull-ups. For strength training, perform 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise with the maximum amount of weight you can comfortably lift. Gradually increase the weight as your strength and endurance improves.
When you have greater muscular endurance and strength, you can improve your bone mass, as well as your balance and range of motion. With stronger abdominal muscles, your chances of back injury and pain are reduced. You may also lower your blood pressure, lose weight and control blood sugar levels. Additionally, strength training can tone your physique which improves your physical appearance and energy levels.
If you are new to weightlifting or resistance training, consult with a personal trainer or fitness professional before starting a program. Using improper form or technique can be dangerous and result in injury. Perform the appropriate warm-up and cool-down exercises with your workouts to help protect your muscles.
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