Getting Stronger - The Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training is a type of physical exercise which uses resistance to oppose the force generated by muscles through concentric and eccentric contractions.
To put it simply, it’s exercises that improve your strength and endurance.
Strength training is typically associated with lifting barbells and dumbbells. However, it can be done using other equipment within the home, which is great news for the lockdown period!
Have a look around the house and in your cupboards; there are bound to be lots of things that can be used as makeshift weights.
Home weight examples:
- Tins of beans
- Bottles of water
- Bags of flour
- Your own body weight (for example pushups or wall presses)
The NHS recommends that we undertake some form of strength training twice a week. The benefits include:
Boosts Metabolic Rates
Strength training increases the body’s metabolic rate, which in turn can help protect you from obesity and from all the health conditions that accompany it.
Improves Physical Function
Aging coupled with physical inactivity gradually results in a reduced ability to perform basic activities of daily life. This can make simple things like walking, getting out of a chair, picking up things and reaching for things on high shelves, a challenge.
Strength training can slow down, and even reverse, many of the negative effects of inactive aging including: movement control, functional abilities, physical performance and walking speed. This is due to the positive effects that strength training has on muscle and strength as well as on body fat levels.
Helps Manage Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is pain that lasts over 12 weeks and it is a major public health problem. Strength training can help several types of chronic pain, including low back, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia pain.
Increases Bone Mineral Density
Bone mineral density refers to the amount of bone mineral per unit of bone tissue and reflects the strength of bones. If you have a low bone mineral density (Osteoporosis or Osteopenia), this means that your bones are weak and more prone to fractures. Strength training has been proven to increase bone mineral density in both younger and older adults.