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Strength Training Benefits You Have Not Expected
Before talking about strength training benefits, let’s get clear about what strength training, or resistance/weight training as it’s called sometimes, really is. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it is a physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, including free-weights, weight machines, or your own body weight.
Together with cardio training, strength training is a key part of any workout for both men or women. It brings a wide variety of benefits that go beyond the obviously physical ones. Its wide application is recommended primarily and a lot because regular strength training aids in prevention of the natural loss of lean muscle mass – the thing which we all face with aging. So, though it brings many health benefits to people of all ages, it may be particularly important for people with health issues such as obesity, arthritis, or a heart condition.
The most obvious benefit of strength training is, of course, increased muscle strength, power, endurance, and size. All of these can vastly enhance how able you are to carry out everyday tasks like lifting and carrying things, walking upstairs, etc. – all of which can be facilitated with a greater muscle mass created by strength training. Along with this strength training also means a lower likelihood of injury. Why? Because strong muscles, ligaments, and tendons are less likely to fail when stressed and, as a result, are less likely to become damaged, causing injury. Increased bone density and increased muscle mass can also reduce knee and back pain because the actual framework of your body is stronger.
Many of us have jobs which encourage poor posture, especially those who sit behind a computer or stand up all day. While it is important to get up and stretch once every 20 mins or so, if you want to really improve your posture, stretching isn’t the only thing you should be doing. Stretching does help to loosen up stiff joints and muscles that wouldn’t otherwise get the attention they need, but it’s more likely that poor posture is the result of muscular deficiencies in certain parts of the body, which again come as a direct result of certain types of occupation. This is because the way you stand and sit are influenced by the health of many important muscles in the body like those in the neck, shoulders, back, hips and abdomen. Building stronger muscles with resistance training can therefore support your standing and sitting and ensures straighter and more comfortably positions, as well as giving improved balance and stability.
Beyond these physical aspects, strength training also has a surprising number of benefits for a person’s mental health, too. Studies have shown that strength training can reduce common problems such as anxiety and depression whilst also increasing levels of cognition. Although there is no conclusive evidence as to what strength training does to have such a positive effect, it is thought that the social interactions of strength training and receiving support from those close to you can make a difference. The physical benefits of strength training could also have a knock-on effect for mental benefits because the body uses neural mechanisms to communicate different actions such as to do squats, a plank or bench press. The use of these during strength training is thought to increase cognitive capacity. Exercise in general also improves vascular health, meaning that blood gets pumping around the body, taking with it valuable oxygen and nutrients to all the organs, including tiny vessels inside the brain, and more oxygen in the brain, means it can be used to its full capacity!
What’s more, strength training of course brings about positive physical changes in the body, and as you begin to notice these chances and develop a regular exercise routine your ability to effectively handle stress in your life will improve. In fact, clinical studies and research have shown that regular exercise is one of the three best tools for effective stress management. Strength training also allows you to sleep better, to fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper.
So, there you have it. We’re always told that strength training is great for us physically, which is absolutely true, and we’ve only covered a handful of the physical benefits in this article; But the good news is it also brings benefits for a person’s mental wellbeing. Incorporate resistance training as part of your weekly workout and you’ll most certainly be onto a winning routine which covers all the bases!