Updated: Mar 7, 2022
As a society we’re becoming more health conscious; more people than ever are running, joining group training classes and signing up to sporting events and challenges. Exercise however, is commonly viewed as cardiovascular training, so the idea of strength training can often be overlooked as a tool for everyone to use.I have had my fair share of conversations about the weights section of the gym’s seemingly being more intimidating than the treadmill or cross trainer, but it needn't be.
Strength training has been shown to have a variety of very positive health benefits that can’t be overlooked. For as little as 60min per week, strength training has been shown to have a positive effect on the following:
Development of strong bones. By stressing your bones under the effects of weights, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This is particularly important for post menapausal women.
Managing or improving your weight. Strength training can help you manage or lose weight. Studies have shown it can increase your metabolism which ultimately leads to you burning more calories and thus having more effective weight loss.
Enhance your quality of life. Strength training may enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Building muscle has been shown to contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.
Reduce your risk of injury and Manage chronic conditions. Strength training has been shown to be highly effective at reducing injuries far more than other forms of exercise. Strength training has also been proven to improve heart health, lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk of coronary disease like heart attack. Additionally increased muscle from strength training helps with glucose tolerance which can support the management of type 2 diabetes.For persistent musculoskeletal conditions It can help by improving the muscle density and thus protecting your joints from injury, reducing the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain.
Sharpen your thinking skills. Some research suggests that regular strength training may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults. As well as building a strong body, strength training has multiple mental health benefits. Not only has it been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, but it will also help you to sleep more soundly. It is an effective way of building self-esteem and confidence as you follow your progress, slowly increasing weight and accomplishing things you never thought you could.
All this simply highlights the under-appreciated role strength training plays in living longer. Alongside our cardiovascular training, weight training should be a priority. As Physiotherapists we are well equipped and putting in place a plan of strength training and with the addition of the new gym at Sandycove Physiotherapy we look forward to sharing these health benefits with you.