What is strength training actually?
Strength training, also called resistance training is a specialized method of conditioning that enhances your muscular fitness by starting with appropriate resistance and gradually progressing as you become stronger. It can be performed with a variety of equipment, such as weight machines, free weights (barbell & dumbbells), elastic bands, medicine balls, or body weight alone.
Resistance training should be part of your overall fitness program no matter what your age.
Many people still think that resistance training is only for people who simply just enjoy it too much, or for people who want to get big muscles. This is not true.
You should think of resistance training being as important as brushing your teeth.
So what are the real benefits of strength training?
Increased strength of bones, muscles and connective tissues (the tendons and ligaments).
Increased strength decreases risk of injury & lower back pain.
Increased muscle mass (the more muscles you have the more calories you burn even at rest).
Improved body composition to less fat and more muscles.
Enhanced quality of life—strength increases the performance of daily routines (carrying groceries, walking the stairs). It will allow you to do the things you enjoy with less effort.
It can help you to manage your chronic conditions. Having a chronic medical condition doesn’t mean you can’t do strength exercises. If you’re living with heart disease, arthritis or diabetes, strength training may even help improve your condition.
Enhanced recovery from stroke or heart attack.
Elevated mood and self-confidence
Let’s not forget resistance training will also help you to shape up your body
Strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age.
What happens as we age?
Lean muscle mass naturally diminishes with age but many of the changes associated with getting older are actually due to becoming less active as we are getting older.
Unless you regularly engage in activities to strengthen your muscles, you’ll lose about a half a pound of muscle a year in your 30s and 40s, and that rate can double once you turn 50. This is the reason why old people have a hard time to get off their chair.
As you lose muscle, you lose strength, and that compromises your ability to do even simple things, such as carrying your groceries or getting up from a seated position. Your metabolism also slows down as you lose muscle, so your body will need fewer calories to maintain itself, and you’re likely to gain excess body fat, unless you eat less. Excess fat contributes to a multitude of health problems: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Resistance training will help you to maintain your independence as you get older.
How about resistance training in children?
You have probably heard that children should not train with weights because it places too much stress on growing muscles, or is dangerous. This is not true. Strength training can be very beneficial to growing boys and girls. Over the past several years, research has clearly demonstrated that strength training in youth is safe, effective, and efficient as long as certain safety precautions are in place. Strength training can enhance muscular strength and power, which is required for success in all sports, and it’s likely that youth who strength train will perform better than those who do not strength train. By enhancing muscular fitness before sport participation, you help young athletes improve their general athletic skills and reduce their risk of injury.
It’s important that children follow the age appropriate strength training guidelines and that other activities are taking into the consideration.
BCRPA Personal Trainer