What is Strength Training?
According to Merriam-Webster, strength training is, “A system of physical conditioning in which muscles are exercised by being worked against an opposing weight (as by lifting weights) to increase strength.”
You can also build your strength by using resistance bands and by doing yoga and Pilates.
12 Powerful Benefits of Strength Training.
1. Helps you to burn calories efficiently. Building muscle increases your metabolic rate which is increased up to 72 hours after you’ve trained. You burn more calories at rest; in fact, you’re still burning extra calories hours and even days after your workout.
2. Decreases abdominal fat. Your fat stored around your middle is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
3. Lowers risk of falls, especially in older people. One study of over 23,000 adults over the age of 60 showed that the number of falls was reduced by 34% in those who participated in exercise programs that included balance exercises, resistance and functional training.
4. Lowers your risk of injury. Strength training can reinforce your strength around your major joints like your knees, hips and ankles which will help to provide additional protection for you from getting injured. Having a stronger core, hamstrings (muscles at the back of your thighs) and glutes (muscles in your buttocks) can take a load off your lower back during lifting activities and reduce your risk of injuring it. One study of over 7,000 athletes revealed that their strength training programmes reduced the risk of injury by 33%.
5. Improves your heart health. Many studies have shown that regular strength training exercises can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improve your blood circulation by strengthening your heart and its vessels.
6. May lower your risk of developing diabetes. Strength training can help to manage your blood sugar levels and could even help those with this condition to manage it better. Skeletal muscle helps to increase insulin sensitivity and also reduces blood sugar levels by removing glucose from your blood and sending it to your muscle cells. One study of 10 years of over 35,000 women revealed that those who engaged in strength training had a 30% reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, compared with those who didn’t.
7. Boost your self-esteem. You appreciate your strength and you believe that you can succeed with your strength training goals, which can help to improve your overall confidence. There was a considerable link between strength training and positive body image in a study of over 700 adults.
8. Makes your bones stronger. Any weight-bearing exercise puts temporary stress on your bones which sends a message to your bone-building cells to take action and rebuild your bones and make them stronger. Having strong bones reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis; a condition causing your bones to get weaker.
9. Boosts your mood. Exercise promotes the release of mood-boosting endorphins which can help you to get in a positive mood. Studies have shown that it may reduce anxiety.
10. Improve your brain health. Numerous studies of older people have noted that there were significant improvements in their cognitive function after participating in strength training activities compared to those who didn’t.
11. Can make acts of daily living easier for you. If you regularly pick up heavyweights, you feel more confident and safer picking up heavy, everyday objects.
12. Gives you more energy. The very fact that strength training delivers more oxygen and nutrients to your tissues helps your cardiovascular system to be more efficient.
Strength training and me.
Well, if you told me about 7 years ago that I’d be going regularly to the gym, I’d have laughed in your face!
I use to think it would probably be boring and be full of posers.
A few years ago, because of me doing a physical and joint-destroying job, I decided to give strength training a try. My partner helped me to get into it. He showed me how to use the fixed weights machines and trained me to do free weight exercises. He still does.
As time went on, I noticed that my lower back and my knees hurt a lot less and I could take up running again. (I stopped when my piriformis syndrome got too painful for me.)
It’s a fantastic feeling when I find myself picking up heavier weights. And my core is stronger. But more importantly, my mood is better after a session. Yes, my gym is full of posers admiring themselves in the mirrors but I’m unlikely to stop going because of the benefits for me.
You don’t have to go to a gym. You could do bodyweight exercises in the comfort of your own home. Perhaps check out YouTube for inspiration.
I like using a resistance band at home to help me do squats and have an exercise mat to do yoga stretches.
Do you do strength training exercises? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, feel free to buy me a coffee, below.
Sources: mayoclinic.org, healthline.com, everydayhealth.com, livestrong.com, health.usnews.com, womenshealthmag.com, menshealth.com, weightwatchers.com, cancer.org, prevention.com, webmd.com, merriam-webster.com