Strength training is also known as weight or resistance training and is a type of physical activity targeted to increase muscular strength and endurance. It involves the focused exercise of a particular muscle or muscle group against external resistance such as free weights, machines, or even your own body weight. Sensible weight training need not require the use of heavy resistance and only involves controlled specific movements of major muscle groups.
Contrary to the popular belief that strength training is only for bodybuilders and athletes, it actually offers unique benefits for people of all ages, including more effective fat burn, heart benefits, improves balance, strengthens your bones, boosts confidence and reduces stress and depression.
Research has shown that not only can lifting weights give you a toned appearance and improve your body composition, but in addition, it can also improve your overall physical and mental health. Regular strength or resistance exercise also helps prevent sarcopenia, the loss of lean muscle with age.
For adults, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention guidelines recommend two or more days’ each week of muscle-strengthening activities targeting the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
Some of the main benefits of strength training are as follows:
With age, you naturally lose muscle and bone mass. This is especially a bigger concern for women. Therefore, if you are not careful enough, your bones will gradually weaken and become more prone to breaks and fractures. However strength training is one of the best bone-building activity and helps prevent this loss of bone mass. As muscles adapt to the stress of weightlifting by becoming stronger, your bones also adapt in a similar manner.
Increased Metabolism and Calorie Burn Even At Rest:
Research has shown that type II muscle fibre, which is the muscle you build by lighting weights improve full body metabolism and can be effective to tackle obesity. Even though the calories burnt during cardio exercises if more, building muscle through strength training allows you to burn more calories throughout the day, even after the exercise, as muscle is a metabolically active tissue. Therefore, every kilogram of muscle that you build in place of your fat, will up your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body burns at complete rest.
Boosts Athletic Performance:
Strength training can also improve your performance in sports or athletic activities. The reason is simple, strong muscles are able to produce more force and sustain longer. In addition, resistance training also improves endurance, body balance and coordination and dexterity, all qualities which play an important role in any sport.
A major reason for running or other sport-related injuries is muscle weakness. Strengthening the basic muscles which are engaged in sports can significantly reduce the impact on your joints, tendons, and ligaments, helping you enjoy your activities pain-free.
If presently you are not suffering from any injuries, you can retain and maintain your strength by undertaking resistance training a couple of times per week. However, if you are suffering from an injury, the right approach would be to take specialist rehabilitation training for 5-6 days a week.
Prevents Age-Related Loss of Muscle Mass:
With the advance in age, you start losing the muscle mass, which medically is known as sarcopenia. Also, due to reduced movements with age, the muscle strength declines at a faster pace. This makes every-day routine activities difficult to perform.
However, strength training can help deter this muscle mass loss by helping you maintain and develop new muscle. By lifting weights, the muscle fibers are damaged, which on repair add more protein to each fiber, thereby making them stronger.
There are certain muscles in the body knows as stabilizer muscles, which help stabilize you and maintain your body balance. These muscles play a major role in routine activities. Strength training, in addition to improving your major muscles, also targets and works on the stabilizer muscles. This is especially important for people as their age advances.
Curbs Stress and Anxiety:
Strength training, especially when done in group sessions, helps reduce anxiety and stress levels. Also, strength training helps to lift up overall energy levels and improve your mood. With a regular exercise routine, improvements in your self-esteem and increased strength, your ability to handle stress improves.
Also weight training helps in better and a deeper sleep, which further lowers the stress and anxiety levels.
Improves cardio strength:
Strength training is done at a fast pace can increase your heart rate and can even act as a form of cardio workout.