Training | POSTED November 1, 2021

Why Strength Training Is Essential For Everyone

Although you might love the “buzz” of HIIT training and the focus and mediative nature of running, it’s also important to incorporate strength training into your workout. Why? Well, exercise isn’t just about keeping us fit right now; it’s also about focusing on where we want to be in 10, 20 or even 30 years’ time. Working out shouldn’t just a hobby, it should be a habit for life, and strength training can help with that. Incorporating strength training in your fitness regime can help reduce the risk of falls and broken bones as we age, and will help keep us mobile and healthy. But that’s just one reasons why strength training is essential for everyone. Read on to find out why picking up those weights is so important.

Improve bone health

A combination of age, inactivity and nutrition gradually reduce bone mass at the rate of 1 per cent per year after age 40 [1]. However, numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss – or even building strong bones [2]. This is particularly important for women, who usually have thinner and less dense bones than men. Women also lose more bone mass after menopause as estrogen levels drop [3], leaving them more susceptible to osteoporosis. Essentially, activities that put stress on bones – things that pull or push on bones – can kick bone-forming cells into action, creating stronger, dense bones throughout your life. The good news? It is never too late to start. Joan MacDonald (or better known as @trainwithjoan on Instagram is living proof of that, having started her fitness journey at 70 years old after a visit to her doctor. She is pictured below on the leg press.

Train with Joan

Manage chronic conditions

Strength training is especially beneficial for people with chronic conditions (such as arthritis [4]), as it supports and protects joints by building muscles around them. It can also ease pain, stiffness, swelling and fatigue, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a well-managed strength training program can increase confidence and decrease the stress of living with a chronic condition.

Man Squatting

Increase lean muscle mass

Lean muscle mass is essential for a variety of reasons: the more you have, the more energy you’ll burn even while at rest. Lean muscle mass helps improve your immune system and stress response; and you’ll have more energy [5]. Plus, you’ll be more toned (vanity is a valid reason to get strong). Muscle mass decreases 3 to 8 per cent each decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline speeds up after the age of 60 [6]. Risk factors include age, gender (women are more at risk) and level of physical activity – and strength training is the best thing you can do to prevent it.

Increase Lean Muscle Mass

Improve cardiovascular health

Heart health isn’t just about traditional cardio work – so if you hate the treadmill, you’re in luck. Research has found that women who strength train are 17 per cent less likely to develop heart disease [8]. And, in good news for the time-poor among us, further research showed that less than an hour a week of lifting weights can reduce your risk of heart attack by 40 to 70 per cent [9].

Cardiovasular Health

Improve balance

Strength training also helps improve your balance, coordination, and posture by working the muscles that keep you stable. Doing at least one resistance training session per week — performed alone or in a program with multiple different types of workouts — has been shown to produce a 58 percent increase in functional capacity (linked to a decrease in risk of falls) in elderly adults [10]. Start early and you’ll retain good balance throughout your life.

Balance

Reap mental benefits

We’ve known for years that exercise helps manage stress, depression, and anxiety, but most studies have focused on aerobic exercise. More recently, studies have zoomed in on strength training and have concluded that people who lift are less likely to develop depression or, for those who already have depression or anxiety, have fewer symptoms or episodes [11]. 

Man Smiling in Gym

The Australian Department of Health recommends strength training at least two days per week, which is also what we recommend for our clients. However, we see even more benefits when clients strength train three days per week. Are you convinced that strength training is essential for everyone yet? Come and talk to us today about the benefits you could see from a good strength training program.

Resources

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles
  2. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/34/1/18
  3. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/osteoporosis
  4. https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/managing-arthritis/living-with-arthritis/physical-activity-and-exercise/strength-training/
  5. https://gophysiotherapy.co.uk/lean-muscle-mass-important/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4269139/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5161704/
  9. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181113115430.htm
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29188577/
  11. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-74608-6