I wanted to start this conversation about strength training by asking what perceptions do you already have about strength training or working out in general? If you’re already someone who strength trains you may think you have nothing to gain from reading about it. If you’re someone who doesn’t work out you may consider strength training difficult or only for people who want to look a certain way. Maybe you have tried strength training before and didn’t enjoy it, didn’t get any “results” or got really sore. Whatever category you are in I invite you to try to put those thoughts and preconceived notions aside and be open to a new or different perspective on strength training. Now let’s dive in.
Strength training is defined as the use of resistance or weight to build strength, improve anaerobic endurance, and increase skeletal muscle size. We have all probably at some time learned that this was beneficial for our health. I am going to dig into this a little deeper and explain why that is. So basically picking up heavier stuff to grow muscles? The reason this is so important to our health is because it improves the function of our body at a cellular level. People that have greater muscle strength, the amount of force able to be exerted, and muscle endurance, the ability to maintain muscle contraction over time, are more resilient to disease and are less likely to have chronic disease like heart disease and diabetes.
The protective factors are not completely understood but are linked to improved ability to metabolize glucose which results in less free glucose in the body and free glucose damages cells. The ability of the body to manage stress is also improved with increased muscle development. Research has also found longer and better lifespan associated with greater muscle mass in various studies. Strength training also helps develop muscles that support joints and posture reducing joint conditions and pain. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury especially as we age, individuals who participate in strength training are less likely to have a debilitating fall and also have improved balance and function as they age. Additionally, strength training improves bone density and can even reverse osteoporosis, therefore bones are healthier and stronger which means even in the event of a fall we are less likely to sustain a fracture or severe injury. As we age our muscle mass is reduced often resulting in reduced function and capacity to tolerate activities. People who strength train also report less fatigue and maintain greater muscle mass as they age.
There is not just a benefit at a cellular level there are many other positive aspects of our everyday life improved thru strength training. People reported a great sense of self esteem in those who participated in strength training versus those who did not. Additionally, better sleep and ability to maintain a stable weight was also reported.
With all of this great information you are probably wondering how can I get started strength training. Many people stray away from gyms or strength training due to misconceptions or fear. Well I am here to tell you strength training does not have to be any of those and you should get started as soon as possible to not miss out on all these benefits. There are tons of options and resources depending on your comfort level so again I ask you to leave behind any preconceived notions and just start somewhere! If you just want to stay at home order a couple of weights on Amazon or even just grab a couple soup cans and get started. Basis strength training workout are readily available online. Just start with some overhead presses and squats. If you really want to get all the benefits I highly recommend working with a trainer to get the most out of your workouts. I am currently training at Starting Strength gym in Tampa so if you are in the area I highly recommend trying their complimentary one on one consultation to learn more about strength training and form. Click here for more details. This consultation is amazing because it’s one on one and not in a lab intense gym environment, it is a personalized and quiet environment that makes it inviting especially for beginners. Whatever approach you take I encourage you to just get started building muscle mass! You will start feeling better physically and mentally.