While all movement matters, 24Life asked a personal trainer why building muscle is important. And not just any personal trainer; Angela Stovall is a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness who has more than 26,000 client training sessions under her belt.
Here were three things she had to say about muscle.
More muscle means more calories burned
It’s true, says Stovall, the more muscles you build, the more calories your body continues to burn throughout the day. “Muscles use more calories as we use them, and we use muscle throughout the day in everyday use, so the more muscle we have on our bodies the more calories we burn for energy, even while we are resting and sleeping.”
This is why many health professionals emphasize weight-lifting, not just cardio, for those looking to lose weight because building muscle means an overall increase in calorie burn, which leads to weight loss.
More muscle means protection from injury
“When our muscles are strong, they help support our skeleton, joints and protect our internal organs,” says Stovall. “Strong muscles can prevent us from possibly falling, or help us move quickly to prevent a fall or a sudden, unexpected movement that could possibly injure us.”
So the more muscle you have around your bones and joints, the more protected you are—kind of like wearing a suit of armor or football pads.
Of course, it’s important to avoid over-training or over-using any muscle or particular body part, as it could lead to serious injury. (This is what’s called “repetitive strain injury.”)
Lifting weights isn’t the only way to build muscle
“Eating the right nutrition (protein), getting plenty of sleep and not over-training,” according to Stovall, are key for building muscle in the body.
This means allotting time in your fitness schedule for rest and recovery days, foam rolling and stretching, and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Photo credit: Victor Freitas; Courtesy of Angela Stovall