Why do strength training?

In recent years strength training (or resistance training) has been getting more and more attention.

Where once upon a time, the emphasis was on cardiovascular exercise (think running) for improved health and body composition, more and more evidence is backing the benefits of resistance training.

1. Increased muscle mass

By progressively overloading the muscles, your body has no choice but to adapt and build more muscle to cope with future demands. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, which means it burns calories even at rest.

2. Changes in the shape of your body

While some may worry that more muscle mass will make them look bigger, quite the opposite is often true. While more muscle mass may increase the number on the scale, 1kg of muscle mass takes up less space than 1kg of fat mass. So, if you can lose 1kg of fat mass while gaining 1kg of muscle mass, the number on the scales won’t change but you may find clothes fitting better, feeling more confident in your appearance and others commenting on your change in shape.

3. Improved posture

Muscle doesn’t just look good; it also serves other valuable functions. Strong back and abdominal muscles will have you standing tall with shoulders pulled back. Don’t underestimate the value of posture, not only in how you look but also in reducing niggling pains.

4. Stronger bones

Strength training doesn’t only provide a stimulus for muscles to adapt but also for bones to adapt and grow stronger. Bones respond to mechanical stress (e.g., jumping) by increasing bone formation, resulting in stronger bones with higher density. It is thought that we reach peak bone mineral density in our mid 20s. After this age, bone mineral density will gradually decrease and risk of bone fracture increases. We can slow this rate of decrease through resistance training.

5. Reduced injury risk

It’s not just bone injury risk that is decreased with resistance training. Stronger muscles also aid in holding joints in place reducing risk of injuries such as joint dislocations. The balance between muscle groups (e.g., pulling vs pushing muscles) and sides of the body may also aid in injuries related to these asymmetries.

6. Reduction in health complications

Health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) and arthritis may also be benefited with regular resistance training. Strengthening the muscles around arthritis affected muscle groups can help support the joints and ease pain, resulting in improved function. This same training may also benefit blood sugar control as it relies on stored glucose for energy. Muscle mass is also a storage site for glucose, so more muscle mass helps the body handle future influxes of glucose from the diet. Just like cardiovascular exercise, it also burns energy which can help with weight control in T2DM.

7. Mental health benefits

Putting the physical benefits aside, exercise can also improve symptoms of anxiety and depression and just generally lift your mood. This may be a combined effect of both physiological/neural mechanisms, along with the accomplishment resulting from a completed workout and even potential social interaction if you have gotten out of the house and trained with others.
The above list of benefits, certainly isn’t exhaustive but gives you an idea of the array of positives that may come along with regular resistance training.
Give the Reburn strength workouts a go today!

References

Resistance Training Health Benefits

Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass

Effects of High-Intensity Strength Training on Multiple Risk Factors for Osteoporotic Fractures

Strength training builds more than muscles

The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed

Dynamic exercise programs (aerobic capacity and/or muscle strength training)

Resistance Training for Glycemic Control, Muscular Strength, and Lean Body Mass in Old Type 2 Diabetic Patients

Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health