If you haven’t incorporated strength training into your workouts yet, consider this the push you need to get started and make this a fundamental part of your fitness routine at Healthworks. Strength training is also often referred to as weight training or resistance training, and is defined as any physical movement that builds muscle mass, strength, endurance and power. You can train using free weights, resistance bands, weight machines suspension straps or even your body weight. All strength training aims to put your muscles under enough tension to stimulate neuromuscular adaptations and growth.
If you’ve been doing this a while, you’ve probably noticed that strength training makes daily tasks a whole lot easier. We’re talking about everything from carrying heavy groceries to walking up a flight of stairs. When you intentionally build strength, the rest of the movements you make throughout your day are a lot less taxing on your body, which becomes especially important to maintaining independence later in life.
Daily movements become less taxing because strength training doesn’t just impact the strength of your muscles. Weight-bearing exercises put temporary stress on your bones, which stimulates your bone-building cells and fends off musculoskeletal diseases that can develop as a result of the muscle mass and strength loss that comes with aging. Osteoporosis is one of them, and it disproportionately impacts women’s health, especially after menopause.
Sturdier bones can make falls and other injuries a lot less consequential, but strength training goes even further. Studies have shown it can increase flexibility as much as stretching, which improves the range of motion of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and can reinforce major joints in your knees, hips, and ankles. Strength training is good for your blood, too. Studies show it can lower the risk of developing diabetes and help manage the disease in people who already have it. That’s because building skeletal muscle can increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels by taking glucose out of the blood and putting it into muscle cells, improving blood sugar management.
Did you guess that strength training is good for the brain yet? Researchers have only recently started examining how it impacts mental health, but the evidence is quickly piling up. While several studies have found strength training improves depression and anxiety symptoms in people who are already struggling with mental wellness, there’s proof it can also help people who are in good mental health. In the study, the control group retained their original low levels of anxiety while the weight training group scored about 20 percent better on anxiety tests, which means even people who don’t struggle with anxiety can benefit from the mood-boosting properties of strength training.
The best part is you don’t need to spend hours a week lifting weights to benefit from strength training. You can see significant improvements in your strength with just two or three 30-minute strength training sessions a week.
Not sure where to start? We’re here to help you feel your best and discover your strength! Email your questions and goals to our team at [email protected].