Regular exercise promotes overall health. The earlier we start the better it is for the body. With the busy deadlines at work and the chores to complete at home, most of us end up going for a morning walk or practicing yoga in the comfort of our homes.
While these do benefit the body and keep us healthy, there is more we can do to improve our health. That’s right, recent research suggests that including strength training or resistance training in a fitness routine may be the solution to several health problems.
Strength training exercises are as important as aerobic exercises like running, swimming, jogging etc. This is because due to aging individuals lose their muscle strength and strength training can help maintain the muscle power.1
So, for those who are not aware of strength training, here is what you need to know about this exercise and how it can benefit the body.
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training, also known as resistance training, plays a vital role in a balanced exercise routine. This type of training involves both aerobic and flexibility exercises.
This exercise routine generally uses some resistance. So, the muscles of the body have to work against this resistance. Hence, the name resistance training. Some of the common types of resistance training equipment include the following:2
- Free Weights: These are the most common tools used for resistance training. These include dumbbells and barbells.
- Resistance Bands: These are large elastic bands used for strength training. These are portable and can be used even at home.
- Resistance Training Machines: These are equipment usually found in the gym. They have adjustable seats with handles that are either attached to weights or hydraulics.
You can also use your own body weight for strength or resistance training. Squats, push-ups, chin-ups are a few examples by which you can use your own body weight to do strength training exercises.
So, strength training is nothing but using a favorable obstacle to give that extra push to your muscles and overall body. Working against something may seem hard but the health benefits are plenty.
Let’s examine some of the health benefits of this exercise routine in detail.
Health Benefits Of Strength Training
Strength or resistance training exercises help to build muscles and improve muscle strength. However, introducing strength training exercises in your fitness routine can do more than that. Here are a few benefits of strength training.
1. Improves Bone Health
Bone loss is common as we age. This causes the bones to be more prone to injury and fractures. Several studies have reported that strength training can help in reducing bone mass that comes with age.3
This type of exercise routine can also help build bones and may help avoid bone-related issues that come with old age. These exercises usually target bones of the hips, spine, and wrists.
2. Enhances Flexibility And Balance
Strength training exercises play a role in improving your coordination, balance, and flexibility. In addition, it can also improve your posture, thereby, avoiding excess strain to your body and its muscles.
Improvement in flexibility and balance is important especially during the older years as you are more likely to fall during this time and can avoid fractures and other conditions.
3. Controls Body Weight
Strength training is an efficient way to maintain or control body weight. It helps you get rid of the extra fat in a healthy manner and controls the body weight for a longer duration.
With this exercise routine, you will also have a toned body and an increased muscle-to-fat ratio. As you gain muscle, your body will be able to burn more calories at rest, too.
4. Boosts Stamina And Energy Levels
Strength training exercises can increase your stamina and energy levels. These exercises can increase your endorphins produced by the brain making you feel great.
Strength training is also considered a good therapy for sleep disturbances. It can help you sleep better and fight symptoms of insomnia, thereby improving health.4
5. Prevents Or Controls Diseases
Strength training exercises can prevent or control some of the most common diseases like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression, and obesity.
This exercise routine may also help post-menopausal women increase their bone density, reducing the risk of bone fractures. In addition, it may help decrease arthritis pain and help diabetics control their blood sugar levels.
In conclusion, strength training can improve your mental and physical well-being. It boosts your confidence, improves the way you look, and you feel good about yourself.
How To Get Started With Strength Training?
Although books and videos may help you start your strength training fitness routine, it may not be the best option. It is always better to start any new exercise routine under the guidance of a certified instructor so that you know how each exercise should be done.
As a beginner, do not push yourself or overtrain your body to get the desired results in less time. This will only do you harm than good. Ideally, in the beginning, strength-training workouts can last for 20 minutes. The key is to do it right and be consistent.5
A beginner’s strength training program involves 8–10 exercises that work the major muscles of the body and should be performed only two to three times a week. One set of each exercise should not be performed for more than eight repetitions.6
Also, don’t forget your five-minute warm-up sessions before you start strength training. You can start with light aerobic exercises like running, cycling, or walking and a few stretches.
In the beginning, it is normal to feel pain in your muscles after your workouts, however, it is not a good sign if it increases and does not reduce in a few days.
If you have specific health conditions and take medications to treat them, it is important to communicate your routine with the doctor and get the approval before you go ahead on your own.
So, add more years to your life and life to your years by including strength training exercises in your daily fitness routine.
|↑1||Strength exercise as vital as aerobic new research finds. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).|
|↑2||Resistance Training Equipment. Health e-University.|
|↑3||Strength training builds more than muscles. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑4, ↑6||Resistance training – health benefits. BetterHealth Channel.|
|↑5||Want to live longer and better? Do strength training. Harvard Medical School.|