Everybody knows it’s important to move your body, to get your heart pumping and to get, in general, some sort of physical activity every day. Whether this is cycling to work, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or going for a five-mile run, at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exertion per day is recommended. But what about getting stronger, building strength, adding muscle and reducing fat? Isn’t this just for bodybuilding gym-goers or is there real benefit from resistance training for the average person?
After doing some research, it turns out that weight lifting, strength training, or resistance training is extremely beneficial for many age groups and demographics. Once checking with your GP for an overall assessment, an effective program offers benefits from health and strength, to flexibility and decreased likelihood of injury, to better muscle tone and posture, and finally to an overall better state of mind.
So what is resistance training?
Resistance, or weight, training is a system of conditioning involving lifting weights especially for strength and endurance. Different forms of resistance training include free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, and your own body weight. Effectively your muscles gain strength by working them against some force.
This said, the following are the top benefits we found from a safe and effectively established resistance training routine:
- Health – There is so many benefits to your overall general health:
- Increases good cholesterol, decreases bad cholesterol
- Reduces risk of diabetes and insulin needs.
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Lower high blood pressure.
- Lowers risk of breast cancer – reduces high estrogen levels linked to the disease.
- Pain management
- Improved mobility or balance
- Decreases or minimizes risk of osteoporosis by building bone mass.
- Reduces symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Decreases colds and illness.
- Strength – You’ll gain power and endurance. Programs can also be designed depending on your overall goals and/or fitness needs. Some may want to build strength and add size, which usually applies to men; or, for many women, adding resistance to add strength and improve shape, but without the bulk.
- Flexibility – By working through full range of motion exercises, overall flexibility and mobility increases. This leads to less injury, reduced back pain, and some studies indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
- Body composition – Although your weight might not change, resistance training enables you to turn your existing body fat into muscle. You’ll become leaner by burning the fat and adding lean muscle. Also muscle needs more calories that fat to survive, which means the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll be burning at rest!
- Mental wellbeing – A better night’s sleep and stress management are the big ones, but strength training is also great at fighting depression. A recent Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counselling did, so if you want to change attitude to a better, more positive outlook, get lifting those weights.
As you can see, both body and mind benefit from a well-produced strength-training program in addition to your cardiac or aerobic endeavours. Incorporating both programs into your routine throughout the day and week will lead to a stronger, healthier and happier you.
If you’d like to learn more about what resistance training program is right for you, do contact us at Sana Vita today to discuss your goals and requirements.