We have both small and large muscles all over your body, without which you wouldn’t be able to move. If you don’t take much exercise and they are under-used, they become smaller, stiffer and generally out of shape – and consequently, they make you look out of shape. People with poor muscle condition often think they need to lose weight when in fact they only need to tone up. If you’re in good muscular condition, you will have a good overall appearance – sleek, firm and defined.
Fit muscles also mean increased strength, so you can, for instance, carry heavier loads, or find that digging the garden is a less arduous task. But all this is relative – your basic body type, which is hereditary, will dictate how much muscular strength you can build up. Ectomorph types (basically skinny) can tone themselves up and look sleek and well proportioned but they are never going to be Schwarzenegger types. And if you are female you can do regular moderate muscular strength training without any fear of building up unsightly muscle.
To build up your muscle tone you need to do regular toning activity or a toning program. Examples of muscle-toning activities include: running, swimming and gym workouts. And indeed all aerobic activity has some muscle-toning effect on some (but not all) parts of the body.
Now look through the list of benefits that increasing your muscular strength and tone can bring.
- An increased proportion of lean body tissue (muscle) to fat means increased calorie burn-up and easier slimming. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so if you increase your muscle tissue your metabolic rate will be raised.
- Increased muscle tone makes your body look better – sleeker, slimmer and more in proportion – whatever your size. The main effects people notice are: a firmer, rounder bottom; a neater bustline; a smaller waist; a flatter stomach; firmer thighs; and firmer upper arms.
- Your posture will improve as toned muscles support your body in its correct position. Your shoulders will straighten and your stomach will pull in.
- Everyday aches and pains may lessen.
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises may help to cure stress incontinence.
- Your self-confidence will increase.
- Your ability to do everyday tasks will improve, e.g., carrying shopping, picking up children.
- You will gain increased protection against osteoporosis in older age.
The well-known 7-minute workout is also a method to help you build up the core muscles on your body, especially for people who do not have much time and want to do some workout at home.