Strength training or resistance training covers anything where you are developing muscle strength and/or endurance by working your muscles again some form of resistance. So this includes lifting weights, using machines at the gym, working with resistance bands or tubes, and body weight exercises.
the government’s activity guidelines for adults includes a recommendation for adults to include some strength training that work all the main muscle groups twice a week.
Regular strength training has a benefit for you in everyday activities whether that is carrying shopping, picking up young children, and all the lifting and carrying you might do. It will also help you to maintain a good posture and prevent injuries while doing these tasks. For older adults it is also important part of staying fit and healthy offsetting the impact of aging and help prevent against falls. That’s why the government’s activity guidelines for adults includes a recommendation for adults to include some strength training that work all the main muscle groups twice a week.
If you take part in other sports or activities a regular weight training programme can improve your performance through greater strength, muscular endurance, or increased power for your sport.
Just because you lift weights doesn’t mean you will be putting on lots of muscle bulk. You can achieve different result from strength training depending on how you train. So that could be bulking up to get big muscles, tone up and get better muscle definition with getting ‘big’ or developing increased strength or power.
Strength Training: The Benefits
- Look and feel good – strength training can help achieve a more fit and toned body helping you look good and feel great, and boosting confidence.
- Helps weight management – not only do you burn calories during strength training, your body continues to burn calories after strength training. And as muscles are living tissues that need energy, the greater muscle mass you have the more calories you burn even when you are not active. So regular strength training increases the amount of calories you burn everyday!
- Improved body composition – increasing your muscle mass and a reduced body fat percentage helps with that toned look, but is good for your overall health
- More energy and improved mood – strength training releases endorphins (a natural feel-good chemical produced by the brain) which will make you feel great. It can also act as a great anti-depressant helping you sleep better and improving your overall quality of life.
- Stronger muscles and bones – strength training can help improve the way you move such as better balance, co-ordination, and posture, as well as a reducing risk of falls in older people. Adults lose about 1 percent of their bone and muscle strength every year, regular strength training can stop, prevent or even reverse the loss of muscle and bone mass.
- Helps disease prevention – studies have shown the many benefits of strength training including helping better glucose control in those with type 2 diabetes, reducing blood pressure, reduced arthritis pain, or increasing bone density in post-menopausal women at risk of osteoporosis.
Strength training for women
A concern for many women is that lifting weights means they will build large muscles. This is unfounded, as mentioned just because you lift weights doesn’t mean you will put on lots of muscles. It very possible to lift weights regularly, gain all the benefits without greatly increasing your muscle bulk. Also biology is on your side, women have testosterone levels about 10 times lower than men do, so it is much harder for women to develop significant muscle bulk without an intensive targeted, training programme.
In addition to other benefits the fact that weight training can increase bone density means that it can have a significant impact in preventing or reducing the risk of osteoporosis, meaning it is something all women should consider as part of being active.