Key Benefits of Strength Training and How to Get Started
Whether you’re a gung-ho grandparent, a millennial or just finding your footing as an adult, you can benefit from regular strength training.
Why Strength Training Matters to Everyday Health
Strength training isn’t only about looking good or improving your athletic performance. As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass, and our bone density starts to decrease.
Strength training creates micro-tears in your muscles, which repair and come back stronger. It’s a similar process in your bones, which are fortified with calcium as they rebuild after being tested with resistance.
Three benefits of strength training include:
Improved ability to do everyday activities
The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to get groceries out of the car, pick up your children, or get a package from the top cabinet shelf.
Improved balance and stability
When your muscles are strong and resilient, it becomes easier for you to stay balanced when in motion. The more stable you are, the safer you will be navigating your day or playing sports.
Increased calorie burn.
Strength training increases the body’s metabolic rate, causing you to burn more calories throughout the day. This aids significantly with long-term weight loss and maintaining optimum body composition.
Your exercise routine should include strength training, using props such as weights, resistance bands, or kettlebells, or your body’s own weight to work muscle groups (as with push-ups or sit-ups).
The Secrets of Successful Strength Training
Starting a new regime can be daunting, especially if you’re not a particularly athletic person, but don’t despair! Your body will quickly become attuned to training, and you’ll create a habit you can keep for the rest of your life.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you embark on your strength-training routine:
Continually challenge yourself.
Progressive training is important if you want your muscle-building routine to be productive. Don’t just do the same thing over and over, because you won’t get results. If you lift the same amount of resistance, for the same number of repetitions during each workout session, nothing will change. At some point, you must attempt to either perform more reps or use more resistance.
Use your body weight as resistance or lift weights on a regular basis, three to four times per week.
Balance it out.
Do exercises for the upper and lower body to ensure you maintain a good muscular balance.
Make sure to take rest days.
Take at least one or two rest days a week, because when you over-train, you compromise your recovery ability and will start to regress.
Get a fitness buddy.
Consider enlisting a friend or family member to get fit with you so you’re accountable and decide what your reward system will be.
Allow time for the results to appear. It takes time to see muscle growth and gain strength.
An Easy Program to Get Started
The great news is that incorporating weights into your exercise program does not have to be complicated to get results. Consistency is the key the long-term success.
“Many athletes use caffeine to boost performance, especially before working out, training or playing sports. In general, most people can benefit from taking caffeine before exercise.”
Dr Dana Ryan
PH.D., M.A., MBA
Director, Sports Performance & Education
By SAMANTHA CLAYTON
Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness
Before embarking on any physical program, please consult your physician.