Skipping your leg workout is one of the biggest strength training mistakes you can make.
The muscles in your lower half make up the largest muscles in the body, which drive metabolic rate and encourage longevity and well being in several key ways:
#1: Protect Against Belly Fat
Low muscle mass in the legs means you’ll have more belly fat. Muscle is the primary consumer of glucose, or sugar, in the blood, meaning that it allows your body to use the carbs you eat instead of storing them as fat.
#2: Increase Longevity
Weak legs are associated with increased risk of mortality. A 2005 study found a close association between the degree of strength in the quadriceps and risk of dying in elderly men and women over a 6-year period. Conversely, subjects with the strongest legs had the least risk of dying.
#3: Improve Mobility
A weak lower body leads to poor posture and faulty movement patterns. Lack of leg training leads to muscle imbalances and tightness due to long periods spent sitting.
#4: Protect Against Cancer & Other Diseases
Low muscle mass in the lower body is linked with increased risk of disease, possibly due to the fact that muscle improves insulin sensitivity and has an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body.
#5: Avoid Low Back & Knee Pain
A weak lower body makes you more vulnerable to develop knee and low back pain. Low back pain is often a result of tight hip flexors and weakness in the posterior and core musculature, both of which are targeted with lower body exercises.
#6: Improve Brain Function
Lower body movements improve brain function. In a new study, researchers found that exercises that engage the large muscles in the legs trigger the production of stem cells in the brain. Generation of stem cells helps the brain to renew itself, and lower body activity also improves oxygen and blood flow to the brain, which are key for cognition.