5 reasons why strength training is crucial for YOU!

By Krista Harris | 15 March 2022
5 Minute Read
By Sam Rigg

Strength training is one of the most important forms of exercise – and possibly the most misunderstood…

Often associated with bodybuilders, large muscle gains and throwing heavy weights around a gym, people fear getting ‘bulky’ and shy away from strength training in favour of cardio and body weight exercises.

Sam, our personal trainer, is here to debunk the myths and educate us on why we shouldn’t skip our strength training sessions. 

1. Helps manage sarcopenia (muscle mass loss/atrophy):  

Sarcopenia is a progressive skeletal muscle disorder involving the accelerated loss of muscle mass with aging, that is associated with increased incidences of functional decline, falls, frailty and mortality.

These implications are amplified as a result of no, or insufficient levels of strength/resistance training. Similarly, a sedentary lifestyle can also induce the rates of sarcopenia in both men and women, stressing the importance of regular strength training within your exercising regime.

Rate of decline:

Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% every 10 years after the age of 30. This rate of decline further increase after the age of 60.  Which makes strength training an essential part of maintaining your health from the young age of 30 onwards…  

This inevitable loss of muscle mass, strength, and function is a fundamental cause to disability in older people, alongside many other risk factors that affect your quality of life.

What can you do?

Strength & resistance training offsets the rate of muscle loss. By incorporating weight training within your exercise routine you will minimise the health risks presented by sarcopenia (falls, functional decline, frailty, and even mortality).

People often have a misconception of weight training thinking it’s about fighting over the biggest dumbbells, grunting the loudest & looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, it is important for men and women, young and old, to maximise the sustainability of muscle mass within the body to ensure we can live our best lives.

So lifting weights is vital for absolutely everybody not just the stereotypes. Especially during our later years in life, as the little things get harder and you have to try to keep up with the grandkids.

2. Decreases risk of falls – osteoporosis:

Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that leads to brittle & fragile bones as you get older. About 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, so it is important to keep your bones healthy. Family history, age and gender can all affect your risk of developing osteoporosis, as well as living an unhealthy lifestyle. Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as physical inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol, lack of vitamin D can all increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Therefore it is important to involve strength / weight training as this is the best form of exercise to help with bone strength and to combat osteoporosis. Strength training puts temporary stress on your bones which reduces risk of injury. Increasing muscular strength provides protection for bones and also help with balance. 

A study of 23,407 adults over the age of 60 showed a 34% reduction in falls among those who participated in a well-rounded exercise program that included resistance and weights training.

3. Improves mobility & flexibility:

Strength training is just as effective as stretching with helping mobility and flexibility!

Strength training increases the range of motion at joints, which in turn allows greater mobility and flexibility. A recent review actually compared stretching with strength training and found they were equally effective at increasing range of motion, therefore the greater range of motion equals greater ease of movement and mobility.

A review including 7,738 individuals found strength-training programs reduced the risk of injury by 33%. So be sure to involve strength training within your exercise routine to help increase mobility and flexibility and also prevent injury susceptibility.

4. Effective way to get rid of the DANGEROUS fat (visceral fat):

Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds the vital organs and can be very dangerous. It has associated risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Strength training is a great way to reduce the chances of developing these conditions and ensuring we remain fit and healthy. Here’s why…

Strength training is a great influencer on fat loss. People have a missconception that cardio is the main solution in trying to reduce fat, but this is not the case. Cardio may be great for ‘getting a sweat on’, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is the most efficient type of training to target that dangerous visceral fat.

In the process of lifting weights the body tears muscle fibres, which results in repair and regeneration of those muscles used. You may only burn limited calories when lifting these weights, however, because of that tear the body has to burn fuel to rebuild.

You then go on to actually burn around 2 3x the amount of calories as you did when working those muscles, in the following 24 – 48 hours of repair & regeneration.

So, if you want to lose fat and stay healthy, make sure you’re lifting weights!

5. Strength training improves heart health:

Regular strength training is imperative in maintaining and improving heart health. It is evident that we are all aware of the importance of the heart’s role in keeping us alive and in order. But, we seem to forget that the heart is just one big muscle, constantly contracting and relaxing with all the other muscles within the human body.  

Many studies show that strength training decreases blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and improves blood circulation by strengthening the heart and it’s blood vessels. In addition, as mentioned before strength training allows you to maintain a healthy body weight, while reducing dangerous fat (visceral). This all contributes to better blood sugar levels and less major risk for heart disease.

Other reasons to start strength training:

Boosts self-esteem

Boosts mood

Improves brain health

Promotes better quality of life

Increase metabolism

Increase bone density

Improve muscular imbalances

It is extremely important to understand that weight training isn’t about the stereotypical image of ‘getting massive’ or ‘bulking’ or even ‘getting beach body ready’.

As nice as these images may seem to some people, strength training needs to be understood as a vital part of every individuals training and lifestyle, to stay healthy and maximise your quality of life.

Now its over to you. Good luck!

If you would like to start strength training, try our our Personal Training or Semi-Private Personal Training sessions.

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