We all know that exercise is good for us. It helps to keep our bodies healthy and mind clear. But, experts recommend that we strength train all major muscle groups at least two to three times a week. Not only does strength training help to create a lean and toned body, but it sets you up for healthy ageing. Let’s talk about the health benefits of strength training and how you can incorporate it into your routine.
In this article:
- What is Strength Training?
- 6 Health Benefits of Strength Training
- What Do You Need to Start Strength Training?
What is Strength Training?
Strength training is also known as resistance training. It involves creating resistance to your muscles to build strength and anaerobic endurance. When you strength train, you’re doing specific movements that are designed to build strength and endurance, such as:
- Hill incline walking
- Lifting free weights (kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells)
- Using resistance bands
- Bodyweight exercises (squats, push ups)
- Weight resistance machines
As you can see, you can create resistance through a variety of mediums. You can use your own body weight or use weight resistance machines at the gym. All these types of workouts fall into the umbrella term of strength training.
6 Health Benefits of Strength Training
There’s a reason that health experts recommend strength training. It offers several benefits that help you now and in the future. If you’re wondering why you need to start strength training, here are six health benefits of resistance training.
1. Protects Bone Health and Muscle Mass
Strength training can do more than build muscle. It can help to maintain the muscle mass you have and protect bone health. Strong muscles support strong bones. When your bones are stronger, it minimises the risk of injury and breaks as you get older. A combination of age-related factors and health conditions can lead to fragile bones. Strength training can play a role in slowing down bone loss.
2. Makes You Stronger and Fitter
An obvious benefit but a good one is that strength training makes you stronger and fitter. Muscle mass and strength are essential for everyday functional movements. By creating a resistant force against your muscles, it helps to build strength and muscle mass.
3. Reduces the Risk of Injury
Strength training can help to prevent injury. It does this by strengthening the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the body. Strength training also helps to improve balance which can help reduce the risk of falling and injury as you get older.
4. Maintains Body Weight
Resistance training can help to boost weight loss and help you maintain a healthy body weight. Strengthening exercises help to increase metabolism after exercise more than aerobic workouts. It can also help to burn excess fat and achieve a healthy body weight sustainably.
5. Elevates Body Image and Self-Esteem
Increasing strength and feeling powerful can help to elevate your body image and self-esteem. As you feel more toned and fitter, it can positively affect how you view yourself. Building physical strength can help with several areas of your health and wellness.
6. Improves Mental Wellbeing
Weight training can help to ease symptoms of depression. Strength training exercises help release those feel-good endorphins, alleviate stress, and boost your overall mood. Exercise can also be a healthy way to deal with the stress and pressure of everyday life.
What Do You Need to Start Strength Training?
It’s never too late to start strength training. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle mass, or feel stronger in general, strength training can help you achieve your goals. If you have never lifted any weights before, the best place to start is to meet with a personal trainer or fitness professional. With resistance training, it’s crucial that your form is correct to perform exercises safely and effectively.
After this, you can invest in a few key pieces of equipment to start strength training like:
- Dumbbells and kettlebells - these are small pieces of equipment that are very versatile for strength training.
- Barbells and weights plates - if you want to start free weights training, these are must-have pieces of equipment.
- Gym flooring - whether you plan on using resistance machines or free weights, you need to have the right flooring to create a safe foundation for exercise.
Strength training can be very beneficial to your physical and mental well-being. You can start adding resistance training into your favourite fitness routine slowly. Listen to your body and ease into it to avoid overusing muscles too early on.