Benefit of weight training

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7 Ways Strength Training Boosts Your Health and Fitness

How Strength Training Helps Your Health

Besides the well-touted (and frequently Instagrammed) benefit of adding tone and definition to your muscles, how does strength training help? Here are just a few of the many ways.

1. Strength training makes you stronger and fitter.

This benefit is the obvious one, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. “Muscle strength is crucial in making it easier to do the things you need to do on a day-to-day basis,” Pire says — especially as we get older and naturally start to lose muscle.

Strength training is also called resistance training because it involves strengthening and toning your muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. There are two types of resistance training: (3)

  • Isometric resistance involves contracting your muscles against a nonmoving object, such as against the floor in a push-up.
  • Isotonic strength training involves contracting your muscles through a range of motion as in weight lifting.

2. Strength training protects bone health and muscle mass.

At around age 30 we start losing as much as 3 to 5 percent of lean muscle mass per year thanks to aging. (4)

According to a study published in October 2017 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, just 30 minutes twice a week of high intensity resistance and impact training was shown to improve functional performance, as well as bone density, structure, and strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass — and it had no negative effects. (5)

Likewise, the HHS guidelines note that, for everyone, muscle-strengthening activities help preserve or increase muscle mass, strength, and power, which are essential for bone, joint, and muscle health as we age. (2)

3. Strength training helps keep the weight off for good.

Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, and cycling is well-known as a way to help increase the number of calories you burn in a day and thereby shed extra pounds. But strength training helps, too (even if you’re not burning a huge number of calories during the workout).

Exercise science researchers suspect strength training is helpful for weight loss because it helps increase your resting metabolism (meaning the rate at which your body burns calories when you’re just going about your day, not exercising).

“A good resistance workout increases your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC),” Pire says, referring to the calories your body continues to burn after a workout.” keeps your metabolism active after exercising, much longer than after an aerobic workout.”

A study published in the journal Obesity in November 2017 found that, compared with dieters who didn’t exercise and those who did only aerobic exercise, dieters who did strength training exercises four times a week for 18 months lost the most fat (about 18 pounds, compared with 10 pounds for non-exercisers and 16 pounds for aerobic exercisers). (6)

4. Strength training helps you develop better body mechanics.

Strength training also benefits your balance, coordination, and posture. (7) One study showed that in older people who are at higher risk of falling (and causing a lot of damage) because of worse physical functioning, strength training reduced risk of falling by 40 percent compared with individuals who did not do strength-training exercise. (8)

“Balance is dependent on the strength of the muscles that keep you on your feet,” Pire notes. “The stronger those muscles, the better your balance.”

5. Strength training can help with chronic disease management.

Studies have documented the many wellness benefits of strength training, including helping people with some chronic diseases manage their conditions. If you have arthritis, strength training can be as effective as medication in decreasing arthritis pain. (9)

And for the 14 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, strength training along with other healthy lifestyle changes can help improve glucose control. (10)

6. Strength training boosts energy levels and improves your mood.

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which lift energy levels and improve mood. (11) “All exercise boosts mood because it increases endorphins,” Pire says. But for strength training, additional research that’s looked at neurochemical and neuromuscular responses to such workouts offers further evidence it has a positive effect on the brain (including a 2014 study published in Frontiers in Psychology), he adds. (12)

As if that isn’t enough to convince you, there’s evidence strength training may help you sleep better, too. (13)

7. Strength training translates to more calories burned.

Strength training helps boost your metabolism (the rate your resting body burns calories throughout the day). But weight or resistance training can help boost your calorie burn during and after your workout, too.

You burn calories during strength training, and your body continues to burn calories after strength training (just like you do after aerobic exercise), a process called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” or EPOC, according to the American Council on Exercise. (14) When you do strength, weight, or resistance training, your body demands more energy based on how much energy you’re exerting (meaning the tougher you’re working, the more energy is demanded). That means more calories burned during the workout, and more calories burned after the workout, too, while your body is recovering to a resting state.

8. Strength training has cardiovascular health benefits.

Along with aerobic exercise, muscle-strengthening physical activity helps improve blood pressure, according to HHS. (2) The government recommends doing muscle-strengthening activities twice weekly plus 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity activity at minimum to help reduce hypertension and lower risk of heart disease.

RELATED: Strength Training Found to Lower Heart Disease and Diabetes Risk, Independent of How Much Cardio You Do

5 Benefits of Strength Training

Strength training can help you get stronger and look and feel better with just a few short sessions each week. You can do strength training with free weights such as barbells and dumbbells, weight machines, or with no equipment at all.

Exercises that use your body for resistance include:

  • Abdominal crunches
  • Lunges
  • Pushups
  • Squats
  • Step exercises

Resistance bands and tubes can be used with:

  • Arm curls
  • Kicks
  • Squats
  • Other exercises

Strength-training tips

  • The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice a week.
  • You may want to consult with a fitness professional to learn the right way to do each exercise.
  • Doing each exercise 8 to 12 times is usually enough to work your muscles.
  • You know you’re doing enough work if your muscles are so tired you can barely get through the 12th repetition.
  • Start slowly, and gradually increase the resistance or weight as the exercises become easier.

Benefits

Men and women of all ages can benefit from strength training, but get a doctor’s OK before beginning, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while.

Two or three 20- or 30-minute strength training sessions every week can result in significant health benefits:

  1. Increased muscle mass: Muscle mass naturally decreases with age, but strength training can help reverse the trend.
  2. Stronger bones: Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.
  3. Joint flexibility: Strength training helps joints stay flexible and can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
  4. Weight control: As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more easily, making it easier to control your weight.
  5. Balance: Strengthening exercises can increase flexibility and balance as people age, reducing falls and injuries.

11 benefits of strength training for your body and brain

  • There are different kinds of strength training from HIIT to power-lifting to circuit training and muscle-isolation exercises.
  • These types of workouts are often associated with toning muscles, but there are many physical and mental benefits to strength training.
  • Strength training can help regulate your blood flow and heart rate, speed up your metabolism, clear up brain fog, and boost your mood.

There are a lot of misconceptions about strength training that need to be debunked, and most of them have to do with what people assume strength training actually does to your body. Unless you’re a bodybuilder, strength training exercises from weight lifting to bodyweight movements like squats, push-ups, and planks won’t make you bulk up, but they will offer a slew of other benefits — both physically, and mentally.

“I think many younger people start training for aesthetic reasons, while others want to get a competitive edge at their sport, or a combo of the two,” Reebok trainer, Mike Farr told INSIDER.

“As we mature physically and mentally, I believe our goals in life change, and with this, many people find strength training also. Strength training for general health purposes becomes a more prominent goal. Many also turn to strength training (competitive power-lifting/weightlifting) as a passion or hobby of its own. Although there is a wide variety of reasons why people begin training, the benefits for everyone are the same,” added Farr.

Here are a few examples of strength training can benefit your brain and body.

Bodyweight strength training helps you become more in tune with your physical self

Strength training is an umbrella phrase that encompasses a wide variety of training methods such as circuit training, power-lifting, explosive-dynamic training, and more. Each of these exercises work your muscles in different ways.

Bodyweight strength training, in particular, requires you to use your own body as resistance (rather than, say, dumbbells or machines), and because this method depends on your knowledge of your own body’s limitations and strengths, brand ambassador for Asana Rebel, Kelly Pender told INSIDER it strengthens your relationship with your body.

“Through exercises you can build an awesome physique, strength, balance, physical stamina, and improve flexibility and mobility. my favorite part of bodyweight training is that you learn to tune into your body to see if you need to modify and rest or are able to challenge yourself and push yourself a bit further,” Pender told INSIDER.

“To connect with your body by learning you have the strength within to push yourself, you learn to honor your body and know when it’s time to rest,” she explained. “You push past any negative thoughts that may arise and remain in the present moment, accepting yourself, your body, exactly where you are at.”

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may speed up your metabolism

HIIT can help you build lean muscle and possibly improve your metabolism.

Oftentimes people associate cardio with burning calories, but Pender said HIIT routines do the trick, too, as the quick bursts of motion and plyometrics they’re comprised of burn a ton of calories and elevate your metabolism. Vince Sant, lead fitness trainer and co-creator of fitness platform VShred agreed.

“Personally, the boost in your metabolism is what I consider to be one of the biggest and most overlooked benefits to strength training because people think cardio is the best way to burn calories,” Sant told INSIDER.

“But while cardio is super important to a well-structured fitness regimen, strength training will burn a similar number of calories while helping you build lean muscle. Then that muscle will demand more calories every day as fuel and you will, in turn, burn even more calories.”

Read more: HIIT workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home

Strength training might improve your digestive system

Not only can strength training tone your abdominals, but it’ll also condition the organs behind your abs too.

“Through strength training, you get the blood flowing, which goes to your stomach and benefits your digestive tract,” Pender told INSIDER. “The blood sugar levels become more controlled, and your metabolism elevates. From a yoga standpoint, you are twisting and internally massaging your stomach, which in turn promotes healthy digestion and detoxifies the organs.”

Strength training may boost your immune system

Similar to how strength training fine-tunes your digestive system, your immune system benefits from these exercises, too, and it all comes back to blood flow, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor and celebrity trainer, Astrid Swan told INSIDER.

“Working out and especially strength training boosts your immune system as it is pumping blood throughout the body, relieving stress and releasing endorphins,” Swan explained. “The body often gets sick under times of stress but working out and lifting will help ease that stress.”

More research, however, is needed to confirm strength training’s effect on your immune system.

Strength training gives you endorphins and endorphins make you feel happy

The endorphins released during exercise will leave you feeling good. Maria Fernandez Gonzalez/Unsplash

According to Healthline, endorphins are neurochemicals produced by the nervous system and pituitary glands as natural pain relievers and, in turn, pleasure inducers. Swan told INSIDER that strength training releases endorphins, fighting off worry, stress, and depression to boost your overall mood.

“Blood flow, muscle ‘swelling,’ and hard work being paid off will always improve your outlook,” Swan said. “Getting that last rep makes you feel empowered and the reflection in the mirror verifies it.”

Strength training might also clear up brain fog

Stress can clog your brain and make everything feel fuzzy. Strength training releases a surge of endorphins, therefore uplifting your mood, and, in turn, clearing your head.

“Any stress that you walked in with is usually diminished and clarity kicks in,” Swan told INSIDER. “Depending on how hard you lifted you may be able to achieve the same as a runner’s high, but that will be to the individual.”

Strength training makes you strong outside of the gym, too

Strength training on a regular basis will definitely make you strong in the sense that you can lift heavy weights, but there’s so much more to strength than dumbbells and barbells, Blink trainer Macy Schwartz from Blink Penn Station told INSIDER.

“While strength training does create the ‘toning effect’ that people often crave, I am a big fan of being strong in general. I don’t mean being the strongest person in the gym, but being strong enough to not have to ask anyone for help,” Schwartz said. “A benefit of strength training is being able to live life, being able to take care of yourself, and being independent.”

Strength training conditions the body to optimally self-regulate its blood pressure and heart rate

Not only does strength training get your blood pumping, but it also regulates your overall blood flow and heart rate by putting physical stress on the body, Schwartz told INSIDER.

This is most effective through HIIT, “which can be done exclusively with cardio equipment, or including weight training,” she explained. This type of training increasing your body’s ability to self-regulate and, essentially, trains it to be more efficient.

Strength training can improve your mental health, too

Exercising of any sort will positively affect your mental health. HBO

“Strength training, or working out in general, is similar to education for your brain,” Farr told INSIDER. “It trains your mental toughness to continue when things seem impossible, it trains your ability to focus on the task at hand instead of what is happening around you, and most importantly it trains you to believe that you are capable of reaching new levels of mental and physical strength.”

Read more: If you suffer from anxiety, you may want to think twice before skipping your next workout

Adding strength training to your regular routine can motivate you to be healthy in other aspects of life, too

Adopting a regular workout routine you genuinely enjoy and want to stick with can create a sort of domino effect. When you’re working towards becoming healthier in one aspect of life, you’ll start to notice yourself making an effort to make healthier choices in other aspects of your everyday routine, too.

“When someone makes strength training part of their lifestyle they often will make changes to their entire life that benefit their overall health, including drinking more water, eating more vegetables and making sure they get plenty of sleep,” Farr told INSIDER.

Strength training induces feelings of accomplishment, making you feel productive and motivated for the day ahead

Just as making your bed can start your day off right, so can checking off just about anything on your morning to-do list, including exercising.

“Starting your day with a hard gym session sets the tone for the rest of your schedule to be productive and starts the day off with a ‘win,'” Farr said. “I personally love the feeling of accomplishment after a hard training session. Muscle pumped and fatigued, my brain is firing on all cylinders, endorphins flowing, and I am ready for whatever task comes next in my day.”

8 reasons why weight training is incredible for your health

Christine Hopaluk lost 129 pounds and 14 dress sizes, and the mother of three from Leduc, Alta., says she’s managed to keep it off for more than a decade because of strength training.

“It changed my life. I don’t enjoy cardio but when I got into strength training I loved it. It’s just an empowering thing that helped more than just my body,” Hopaluk told Global News.

When you think of weight training, body builders with bulky muscles and chiseled chests come to mind, but scientists say resistance training offers incredible benefits for everyday people hoping for better health, too.

“We’re very familiar with the benefits of aerobic exercise like running, cycling or walking, but we haven’t focused on lifting and strength exercise. They’re seen on either ends of the spectrum – one makes you strong and muscular and one helps you live longer but that’s not true. The reality is the two, in terms of health benefits, overlap more than they differ,” Dr. Stuart Phillips, a McMaster University professor in kinesiology and Canada Research Chair in skeletal muscle health, told Global News.

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“I’ve seen countless transformations from regimented resistance training. Not only from a body standpoint, but emotionally and mentally as well,” said Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, director of the Human Performance Lab at New York City’s Lehman College.

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Both experts conducted handfuls of studies on weight training over the past few years.

READ MORE: Want to lose weight and gain muscle? Canadian study suggests the perfect formula

Weight lifting isn’t just about bulking up and building muscle mass, the experts say. Its benefits include improved posture, better sleep, gaining bone density, maintaining weight loss, boosting metabolism, lowering inflammation and staving off chronic disease, among a laundry list of positives.

Here’s a look at reasons why resistance training is incredible for your health.

It keeps your bones strong and healthy

Your bones need to stay challenged, just like your brain needs exercise to stay sharp. After about age 30, you start to lose bone density at a small percentage each year. Keep in mind, women make up 80 per cent of osteoporosis cases as they lose bone mass.

READ MORE: Canadian teens are developing ‘lazy bones.’ Here’s why

“Resistance training creates force on the bone and helps it stay strong. Your body cares about survival, not looking cute in a bikini – it has to adapt to survive so it’ll get stronger and bones will get stronger to endure these forces,” Schoenfeld said.

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It staves off disease

Phillips says the research community is recognizing that cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and “all the classic chronic diseases” including cancer aren’t as likely with any form of activity, from strength training to cardio.

They say running is good for your heart, your brain, your waistline and your mental health. That applies to weight training too.

READ MORE: If you’re going to do one thing for a healthier 2017, choose one of these

“A lot of the relationships with aerobic fitness are strongly tied to and mirrored in people’s strength. The stronger you are, the more resilient you are against disease and overall risk for mortality,” Phillips said.

It boosts metabolism and fat loss

Hopaluk started with cardio, cardio, cardio until she hit a plateau. That’s when she read up about strength training.

“I learned you can change your metabolism because you’re burning more calories if you have more muscle. It’s an active tissue, it burns more energy at rest compared to fat,” she said.

Phillips uses a thermostat as an analogy: Imagine your body is a house and aerobic exercise cranks the heat for about 30 to 40 minutes while you work out. Resistance training, on the other hand, doesn’t turn the heat up as much but the burn lingers for a longer time.

Story continues below advertisement Christine Hopaluk lost 129 pounds and kept it off for 11 years. Photo courtesy Christine Hopaluk

It isn’t a striking difference, though.

READ MORE: Your guide for what to eat before and after a workout

“There’s a small advantage,” he said. Weight training, on a whole, however, can aid in weight maintenance and change your body’s composition.

As Hopaluk gained muscle mass, her weight crept up while her dress sizes got smaller.

“Muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of feathers is the same as a pound of bricks, but one’s less dense taking up less room. I looked at it like building a foundation of bricks by building muscle,” she said.

It regulates insulin and lowers inflammation

Along with keeping away chronic disease, strength training has you burning through glucose, which is good news for those grappling with Type 2 diabetes who consistently need to manage blood sugar levels.

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READ MORE: Lifting lighter weights is ‘as effective’ at building muscle as lifting heavy ones, Canadian study suggests

Lifting weights even aids in fighting off inflammation, a marker tied to many diseases. Studies have suggested that regular resistance training sessions, about twice a week, resulted in drops in inflammation in overweight women.

But the experts say, for now, there’s no clear reason why weightlifting helps with inflammation.

It improves posture, sleep, mood and energy levels

Weight training comes with other bonuses, too, according to Brody Thorne, vice president of personal training at GoodLife Fitness.

“Besides the aesthetic, physiological and strength benefits, it affects just how we feel and how clearly we think. Weight training proven to improve the quality of a person’s sleep,” Thorne told Global News.

READ MORE: 8 reasons why you should aim for 8 hours of sleep tonight

“I’d say most folks feel pretty good about their mood and energy…I’ve not met a person who didn’t enjoy the changes they saw and especially women. Most non-exercisers who begin a program and can turn it into a habit begin to like, love, crave the gym,” Phillips said.

It improves strength and endurance

Phillips said that as you train, your body grows stronger and the effects will ricochet into other aspects of your physical activity.

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“If your legs get stronger, then the amount of time you can spend on a walking challenge, on a treadmill, on a hike, will be longer. Even very good runners who do weight training actually improve their running efficiency,” he said.

They’re able to run at the same speed while using a lower capacity of their leg strength.

It improves balance and reduces the risk of falls

This is key for aging Canadians as they grapple with frailty and lose their autonomy. Strength training, even in the elderly, provides better balance and strengthens your legs, Phillips says.

READ MORE: Follow this one tip if you’re trying to lose weight, study suggests

For the everyday Canadian, it means being able to carry heavy groceries up a flight of stairs or help out on moving day. For older Canadians, it means being able to carry out everyday activities, too.

“Your muscle mass really deteriorates in old age. is a clinical marker for functional dependence,” Schoenfeld said.

Keep in mind, falls are a major risk factor for the elderly.

Fifty per cent of seniors who get a hip fracture from a fall don’t live past two years following the incident. With improved balance, they’d better equipped to regain equilibrium, Schoenfeld said.

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It boosts confidence

Thorne has been lifting weights for about two decades now. Like Hopaluk, he said the exercise was transformative.

“Lifting weights has obviously changed my life and directed my path of life. Every day I decide to lift weights and I set a new personal best, those things build my self-esteem and self-confidence,” Thorne said. It’s also helped him maintain his weight from when he was about 20 years old.

Phillips said he lifts about four days a week.

“I’m 50 and feel like I’m 30,” he said.

Schoenfeld aims for four days a week, too.

“I can say, unequivocally, that lifting weights has completely changed my life in virtually every way. So much so, that I decided to make a career of it and educate others on the vast benefits,” he told Global News.

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5 Benefits of Weight Training

  • The basics of setting up a program.
    • Start slowly. This will decrease your chance of injury and soreness.
    • Start with single sets and work your way up to multiple sets.
    • Use the correct weight amount. Using too much weight will increase your chance of injury because your form will suffer. Vice versa, by not using enough weight your muscles will not be challenged and you won’t experience the desired benefits of weight training. How do you know you are lifting the correct amount of weight? It should be hard to perform the last few repetitions without comprising your form.
    • Give your muscles time to rest and recovery. You should wait at least 48 hours before you train the same muscle group once again.
  • Burning more calories throughout the day. Your body works harder to maintain muscle over fat. Strength training can boost your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day.
  • Weight training doesn’t have to be boring. Switching up your routine to keep your body guessing is the perfect way to receive strength gains and to decrease boredom. Switch up your routine by using the machines, free weights, bars, bands, and even your own body weight.

Also, change your routine as much as possible. You can do this by switching up the number of sets or reps, time between sets, choosing different exercises, and varying your speed are just a few suggestions.
It is important to understand the basics of strength training and why you should incorporate this activity into your training program. Once you know all of the benefits you will receive from these exercises, you will want to start right away so you can improve your quality of life and burn those extra calories.

Make weight and strength training part of your routine. Find a class.

Kristin Gustafson is an Allied Health degree instructor at Rasmussen College in Minnesota. She has an M.A. in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation. She has worked in the fitness field for over 10 years. Her experience includes teaching, working in wellness centers and cardiac rehabilitation facilities, teaching group fitness classes, being a personal trainer, and running coach.

4 Ways That Lifting Weights Makes You Healthier

Gaining muscle comes with a slew of great health benefits. Not only does strength training give you sculpted arms and a big, wide back, but it can also increase your metabolism, help you lose weight, and even extend your life. Weight lifting is so important, in fact, that some health experts recommend prioritizing it over cardio. “Above all, however, always lift weights more often than doing cardio. The repeated impact of running, linear motion of biking, swimming or rowing, and endless creations of the same movement pattern and ROM can create muscle imbalances over time that can lead to joint problems,” Lee Boyce, a strength coach, wrote in a Men’s Fitness article.

That means it’s time to take a break from the treadmill, and pick up a pair of dumbbells instead. Here are four ways your strength-training regimen improves your health.

1. It speeds up your metabolism and aids in weight loss

A man lifting weights | Thinkstock.com

Cardio might seem like the way to go when it comes to weight loss, but a little extra muscle mass can do far more than any elliptical machine. WebMD notes that in addition to making you look more in shape, building muscle also helps your body burn more calories — long after your workout is over. “Three to four hours after a strength-training workout, you’re still burning calories,” Debbie Seibers, a certified fitness trainer, told WebMD.

Muscle is able to increase your metabolism because it’s made of metabolically active tissue, Men’s Fitness explains. This means your muscles require energy to be built, used, and maintained, which results in a steady calorie burn. The alternative to muscle is fat tissue, which doesn’t do anything other than sit there. We pick muscle mass over fat tissue any day!

2. It helps you live longer

Weights | iStock.com

A strength training program can add years to your life. A 2014 study conducted by UCLA revealed that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. Dr. Arun Karlamangla, the study’s co-author, noted that “the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death. Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”

Forbes explains that the average 30 to 35 year old experiences a 25% decline in his muscle strength and tone by the time he reaches between 70 and 75. But if you start a strength training regimen now and work to build, not lose, your muscle mass, you can ensure your bones remain strong, which is a key way to reduce the risk of fractures caused by osteoporosis. In addition, AZCentral.com reports that a study conducted by the University of Florida discovered that weight lifters have a lower risk of developing cancer. This is a result of having less oxidative cell damage, a factor that can lead to cancer, compared to non-lifters.

3. It protects your joints

A man lifting weights | iStock.com

The more muscle you have, the less strain you’re putting on your joints and connective tissue, states Reader’s Digest. Interestingly, a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology discovered that when people suffering from knee joint pain performed weight-lifting exercises, they had a 43% reduction in pain after only four months. Furthermore, study participants were also better at performing daily tasks.

FitDay adds that muscles act as shock absorbers and take stress off your joints. This means that more muscle equals more protection for your joints. If you’d like to start building more muscle mass, check out FitDay’s strength-training exercises. These moves are designed to protect the joints and alleviate pain from those that may already be stressed.

4. It’s good for your heart

Lifting weights | iStock.com

People often do cardio in hopes it will improve their heart health, but weight lifting can also keep your ticker in tip-top shape. Research conducted at Appalachian State University revealed that resistance training has some similar effects as aerobic exercise in lowering a person’s blood pressure. Moreover, the study found that resistance training resulted in as much as a 20% decrease in a person’s blood pressure. “Resistance exercise increases blood flow which reduces blood pressure,” Dr. Scott Collier, the lead investigator of the study, said in a press release.

11 Major Health and Fitness Benefits of Lifting Weights

Tara Moore/Getty Images

No disrespect to cardio, but if you want to blast fat, get in shape, and rock everything that comes your way—both in and out of the gym—strength training is where it’s at. And experts agree: Heavy lifting is in! You can’t swing a kettlebell these days without hitting some workout guru, exercise program, or book advising women to not only lift weights but lift heavier weights.

But why? And should you try it if you’re already happy with your current workout routine? Here, eight benefits of lifting weights that’ll convince you to pick up the heavy dumbbells.

1.You’ll Torch More Body Fat

Build more muscle and you’ll keep your body burning fat all day long. (Here’s all the science behind why muscle helps you burn fat and calories.)

“Lifting weights can increase your lean body mass, which increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day,” says Jacque Crockford, CSCS and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. Burning extra calories post-workout plus building muscle? That’s the surefire way to get the body you want.

In recent research on overweight or obese adults (age 60 and over), the combination of a low-calorie diet and weight training resulted in greater fat loss than a combination of a low-calorie diet and walking workouts, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Obesity. The adults who walked instead of weight trained did lose a comparable amount of weight—but a significant portion of the weight loss included lean body mass. Meanwhile, the adults who did strength training maintained muscle mass while losing fat. This suggests that strength training is better at helping people lose belly fat compared with cardio because while aerobic exercise burns both fat and muscle, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat.

2. …And You’ll Especially Lose Belly Fat

While it is true that you can’t spot reduce—your body is born with pre-conceived places it wants to store fat—a University of Alabama study found that the women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio. This not only helps you lose weight and build a more toned body, but it also lessens your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. (Not to mention, lifting heavy weights recruits your core, giving you an abs workout without even trying.)

Strength training may have a reputation of making women “bulk up,” but it’s not true. The more your weight comes from muscle (rather than fat) the smaller you’ll be. “In fact, body weight often goes up with strength training, but dress size goes down one or two sizes,” says Perkins. Plus, it’s really, really difficult to get body-builder huge. “Women produce about 5 to 10 percent the amount of testosterone men do, limiting our muscle-building potential when compared to men,” says Sinkler. To seriously gain size, you’d pretty much need to live in the weight room. (More proof: What Really Happens When Women Lift Heavy Weights)

Image zoom Nastasic/Getty Images

3. Your Muscles Will Look More Defined

Love the lean, defined muscles on super-fit ladies? “If women want more definition, they should lift heavier since they cannot get bigger muscles because of low testosterone levels,” says Jason Karp, an exercise physiologist and author. “So, lifting heavier has the potential to make women more defined.” (Seriously. Here’s why you can lift heavy and won’t bulk up.)

If you want more proof, watch this video with two-time Reebok CrossFit Games champion Annie Thorisdottir, who has a great body and certainly isn’t afraid to throw around heavy weights.

4. You’ll Burn More Calories Than Cardio

Just sitting on your butt reading this, you’re burning calories—if you lift weights, that is.

You may burn more calories during your 1-hour cardio class than you would lifting weights for an hour, but a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who lifted burned an average of 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended. Another study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Metabolism found that, following a 100-minute strength training session, young women’s basal metabolic rate spiked by 4.2 percent for 16 hours after the workout—burning about 60 more calories.

And the effect is magnified when you increase the weight, as explained in a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Women who lifted more weight for fewer reps (85 percent of their max load for 8 reps) burned nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after their workout than when they did more reps with a lighter weight (45 percent of their max load for 15 reps). (Up next: 7 Common Muscle Myths, Busted.)

Why? Your muscle mass largely determines your resting metabolic rate—how many calories you burn by just living and breathing. “The more muscle you have, the more energy your body expends,” says Perkins. “Everything you do, from brushing your teeth, to sleeping, to checking Instagram, you’ll be burning more calories,” Perkins says.

Image zoom Corey Jenkins/Getty Images

5. You’ll Strengthen Your Bones

Weight lifting doesn’t only train your muscles; it trains your bones. When you perform a curl, for example, your muscles tug on your arm’s bones. The cells within those bones react by creating new bone cells, says Perkins. Over time, your bones become stronger and denser.

The key to this one is consistency, as research has shown that lifting heavy weights over time not only maintains bone mass but can even build new bone, especially in the high-risk group of post-menopausal women. (Psst…Yoga has some bone strengthening benefits too.)

6. You’ll Get Stronger, Obv

Lifting lighter weights for more reps is great for building muscle endurance, but if you want to increase your strength, increasing your weight load is key. Add compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and rows to your heavy weights and you’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll build strength. (Here’s what really counts as lifting heavy and how often you should do it.)

The payoff? Everyday activities (carrying groceries, pushing open a heavy door, hoisting a kid) will be easier—and you’ll feel like an unstoppable powerhouse, too.

7. You’ll Prevent Injury

Achy hips and sore knees don’t have to be a staple of your morning run. Strengthening the muscles surrounding and supporting your joints can help prevent injuries by helping you maintain good form, as well as strengthening joint integrity. (Related: An Open Letter to Women Who Are Afraid of the Weight Room.)

So go ahead, squat low. Your knees will thank you. “Proper strength training is actually the solution to joint issues,” says Perkins. “Stronger muscles better hold your joints in position, so you won’t need to worry about your knee flaring up during your next run.”

Image zoom Brooke Schaal Photography/Getty Images

8. You’ll Be a Better Runner

Stronger muscles mean better performance—period. Your core will be better able to support your body’s weight and maintain ideal form during other exercises (like running), plus your arms and legs will be more powerful. What’s more, since strength training increases the number and size of calorie-torching muscle fibers fueling your performance, strength training could actually help you burn more calories during your cardio workouts, says Perkins.

(More: Run into shape with this 30-Day running challenge—good for beginners, too!)

9. You’ll Increase Your Flexibility

Ignore that super ripped guy fumbling in yoga class for just a minute. Researchers from the University of North Dakota pitted static stretches against strength-training exercises and found that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well as your typical static stretching regimen.

The key word here is “full-range,” notes Sinkler. If you can’t complete the full motion—going all the way up and all the way down—with a given weight, you may need to use a lighter dumbbell and work up to it.

Image zoom John Fedele/Getty Images

10. You’ll Boost Heart Health

Cardiovascular exercise isn’t the only exercise that’s, well, cardiovascular. In fact, strength training can up your heart health, too. In one Appalachian State University study, people who performed 45 minutes of moderate-intensity resistance exercise lowered their blood pressure by 20 percent. That’s as good as—if not better than—the benefits associated with most blood pressure pills. (Related: How to Use Heart Rate Zones to Train for Max Exercise Benefits)

11. You’ll Feel Empowered

Throwing around some serious iron doesn’t just empower women in the movies. Lifting heavier weights—and building strength as a result—comes with a big self-esteem boost. Your strength will not only show in your lean, toned body, but also in your attitude. (See: 18 Ways Weight Lifting Will Change Your Life.)

“Strength has a funny way of bleeding into all areas of your life, in the gym and out,” says Jen Sinkler, an Olympic lifting coach, kettlebell instructor, and author of Lift Weights Faster. By constantly challenging yourself to do things you never thought possible, your confidence grows. ” Weight lifting empowers you,” she says.

  • By K. Aleisha Fetters

The 7 Benefits of Weight Lifting Every Woman Should Know

Discover the benefits of weight training and how to build strength with easy exercises.

It’s still a large misconception that women should not lift weights and many women still spend most of their time in the gym on cardio machines. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only about 20 percent of women practice strength training.

It’s time for that number to change. Pumping iron a few times a week will not only trim inches off your hips and waist, it can transform your entire body and your health. The benefits of strength training can last hours after a workout and can boost your mood all day.

Looking for an easy way to get started working out?
Grab our FREE Beginners Workout Guide – 3 Weeks To Tighter Abs, Sculpted Arms, And Toned Legs, by clicking here!

7 Benefits of Weight Lifting for Women

1. Lose Body Fat

Weight training builds muscle, as lean muscle increases so does metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories all day long. Studies found that the the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. That can really add up over the long term; for example, 4 extra pounds of muscle can burn up to 10 extra pounders per year!

2. Gain Strength Without Bulking

One of the most common reasons women avoid weight training is because they are afraid of “bulking.” This is a misconception as it physically can not happen. Women simply don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men. Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men and have a much harder time gaining size from strength training. Insead women develop muscle definition and strength without the size.

3. Decrease Risk of Osteoporosis

Weight training not only strengthens muscles, it strengthens your bones. Weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Research has also shown weight training can increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine.

4. Reduce Risk of Injury

Weight training also increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve sports performance.

5. Burn More Calories

Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout there is more Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.

6. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain

Weight-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, helping to correct bad posture so that you can stand taller, with shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core will also prevent lower back pain

7. Enhance Mood and Reduce Stress

Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increased in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one.

Beginner’s Dumbbell Workout

Complete 10-20 repetitions, depending on your strength, and three sets of each exercise. Do this workout two to three times per week to build strength and muscle.

Goblet Squat
Hold one dumbbell by the end and stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and knees and toes slightly turned out. Lower down into a squat. keeping your torso upright and your abdominals engaged. Press through your heels and stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.

Deadlift
Hold dumbbells with palms facing in and shoulders back. Hinge at your hips, keeping your back straight, and keeping the dumbbells close to your legs. Keep your weight in your heels so that you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, and straighten back up pressing your hips forward.

Chest Press
Lay on a bench, holding both dumbbells at 90 degree angles out to your sides. Press the weights up over your chest and squeeze your chest muscles together at the top. Slower lower back to the starting position.

Single Arm Row
Hold one dumbbell with your RIGHT hand and place your LEFT hand and knee on a bench. Keep your back flat, holding the weight with your palm facing in. Leading with your elbow pull the weight up, sqeezing your shoulder blade at the top. Repeat with the LEFT arm.

Overhead Press
Hold both dumbbells with a 90 degree bend at your elbows and your elbows shoulder height. Keeping your core strong, press the weights overhead without letting your back arch.

(You’re Next Workout: Full-Body Kettlebell Fat-Burning Workout)

What are the hidden health benefits of strength training?

Strength training—also called weight training or resistance training—isn’t just good for your muscles. It provides a multitude of benefits for your whole body, including improved heart health and balance, stronger bones, weight loss, and improved mental well-being.

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Using external resistance in the form of free-weights, weight machines, resistance bands, and even your own body weight, strength training exercises apply a load/overload to a specific muscle or muscle group, and force the muscles to adapt and grow stronger.

And, for those who are aging—and, let’s be honest, who isn’t?—regular strength training can help prevent sarcopenia, the gradual and natural loss of lean muscle mass.

In its new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends strength training for all ages. For children/adolescents 6 to 17 years old, HHS recommends strength training be incorporated into their recommendation for 60 minutes of physical activity daily, at least 3 days/week. In adults, moderate-to-intense strength training that targets all muscle groups is recommended 2 days/week.

Besides providing cardiovascular benefits and preserving muscle mass, as all exercise does, strength training can provide surprisingly broad health benefits. Let’s take a look.

Burns more calories. Because it boosts your metabolism, strength training burns calories. But even after wrapping up your strength-training workout, did you know that it contributes to something known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)—more commonly known as “afterburn”? As your body recovers from your workout and moves back to a resting state, it will keep burning more calories because of your workout. The more intense your workout, the longer it takes for your body to return to resting state, and the more calories you will burn.

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Boosts energy and mood. Like all exercise, strength training raises your circulating levels of endorphins, which serve to improve not only your mood, but gives you an increase in your energy level as well.

Reduces anxiety. Researchers have documented the anxiolytic effects of resistance training as well, with low-to-moderate intensity training (less than 70% of one repetition maximum) effecting the most consistent and largest decreases in anxiety.

They concluded: “Importantly, anxiolytic effects have been observed across a diverse range of populations and dependent measures. These findings provide support for the use of resistance exercise in the clinical management of anxiety.”

Improves sleep. In a study involving elderly men aged 65 to 80 years, resistance training changed sleep patterns for the better, via less awakening and deeper sleep in those who took part in just a single training session at 60% of one repetition maximum.

Improves diabetes. High-intensity resistance training improved glycemic control and muscle strength in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes (mean age: 66 years), according to researchers of a meta-analysis/review of 10 clinical trials. Resistance training brought about significant reduction in HbA1c (0.50%), and led to a 38% increase in muscular strength, they found.

  • See Also: Best exercises to improve stamina

“…Decreased muscle mass compromises glycemic control as skeletal muscle plays an important role in glucose clearance from blood vessels and storage. Moreover, muscular strength and muscle mass decrease with aging, so that it is important for diabetic patients, especially diabetic elders, to increase both their muscular strength and muscle mass through , in particular high-intensity training,” they concluded.

Protects bone health. High-intensity resistance and impact training can improve bone density, structure, and strength, as well as functional performance in postmenopausal women with low bone mass, according to results from the LIFTMORE study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. And these results were seen over 8 months of twice-weekly, 30-minute exercise sessions. Significant improvements were seen in lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density, as well as in femoral neck cortical thickness and height in women randomized to the high-intensity, supervised training compared with control participants who completed a home-based, low-intensity exercise program. Further, participant compliance was high, and only one adverse event was reported (a minor lower back spasm).

Lowers colon cancer risk. To study the effects of weightlifting on future risk of developing 10 different types of cancer, researchers surveyed and followed over 215,000 adults for 6-7 years. According to their study findings, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, those who lifted weights every week had a 22% to 25% lower risk of colon cancer compared with those who did not lift weights, as well as a modest reduction in the risk of kidney cancer.

How to start

Incorporating strength training into your weekly workout or routine couldn’t be easier. You don’t need a gym or expensive weights. Push-ups, planks, squatting on a chair or any other exercise that uses your own body weight as resistance will do. And simple moves, with simple equipment like dumbbells, a kettle bell, or resistance bands make for a great strength training session.

Choose weights or resistance levels that are heavy enough to tire whatever muscles you are working after about 12-15 repetitions. You will gradually be able to do more repetitions without tiring, and that’s the time to gradually increase the weight or the resistance.

For most people, single sets of 12-15 reps will be enough to build muscle, and are as effective as three full sets of the same movement without weights. Remember, the goal shouldn’t be a whole hour of strength training. Shoot for 20- to 30-minute sessions, 2-3 times weekly. You will see noticeable improvements in your strength.

And be sure to rest for 1 full day between strength training each muscle group to give your muscles time to recover. Also, if a movement causes you pain, stop immediately. Either go to a lower weight or try it again in a few days. Don’t push yourself, as you may put yourself at risk for an exercise-induced injury.

For a great collection of strength training videos, go to the following link on the Mayo Clinic website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/strength-training/art-20046031

Enjoy The Benefits of Strength and Conditioning Training

A very excited team of people from Live Active Leisure and Perthshire Rugby, officially announced the opening of the highly-anticipated strength and conditioning gym at Bell’s Sports Centre. Delivered as a project between Live Active Leisure and Perthshire Rugby Club, the new, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning gym and coach education room has had a joint total investment of £88,000 – and it’s now open for the whole community to benefit from!
Studies show that expert strength and conditioning tuition can make a real difference to an athlete’s performance, power and mental strengthThe project was funded in part by a £41,500 grant secured by Perthshire Rugby in the final round of Scottish Rugby’s Club Sustainability Fund awards.

This additional funding allowed for an exemplar facility to be installed with Perform Better equipment, the recognised market leader for this type of installation, delivering a superior finish to the new gym.

Gary Watson, Director of Operational Services for LAL, commented, “Our partnership with Perthshire Rugby stretches back to the seventies, and this project has gone a long way to deepening and strengthening that relationship.
From securing the initial funding award, to the execution of the project, both parties have worked hard to ensure the end result brings real benefit to both the performance athletes at the club, and our wider customer base. I’m proud to report that the end result is exemplary in terms of a modern strength and conditioning facility.”

Studies show that expert strength and conditioning tuition can make a real difference to an athlete’s performance, power and mental strength and the new facility will serve Rugby athletes, the 65 members of Live Active Leisure’s Talented Athlete Scheme, and customers from the wider community.

Equipment in the new gym includes:

  • Wall Mounted Racks
  • Duratrain Flooring with Oak Lifting Platforms
  • Dumbbells
  • Benches and a range of functional equipment including Training Ropes
  • Medicine Balls
  • Rings
  • Plyo Box

GALLERY

Top Ten benefits of Strength and Conditioning Training

1. It improves general health

Strength and conditioning training coupled with a broader exercise routine and good nutrition will have a signicficant positive effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

2. It helps build long-term lifestyle changes

Strength and conditioning training is a great way to improve your “movement quality” so that you will enjoy your exercise routine more, making you more likely to keep it going!

3. It improves sporting performance

If sport is your thing, then a sport-specific strengthening and conditioning program will improve your speed, strength, agility, endurance and muscle strength.

4. It builds healthy bones

Regular weight bearing exercise and strengthening work can help prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. additionally, stronger bones lead to a stronger musculoskeletal system which allows you to exercise safely and avoid injury.

5. It can help prevent injury

Adhering to a well-designed program will strengthen muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints, which will lead to fewer injuries. A good program will also address flexibility and strength deficits, which decreases injury.

6. Enjoy faster rehab

If you do suffer an injury but work at keeping your other muscles strong, it’s been proven that you will bounce back quicker.

7. It improves overall posture

Proper muscle conditioning helps you lift and hold your body upright, as a result of which, your spine, joints, organs and whole body, will sit in better alignment.

8. It raises your metabolism

You will increase your metabolism by developing more muscle mass through strengthening and conditioning exercises.

9. It helps improve balance

Regular strength training leads to better muscle control and balance. As a result, you’re less likely to fall, and if you do fall – as in point 5, your injury will be less severe.

10. It prevents obesity

When you build muscle, you burn more calories, therefore, strength training can actually prevent obesity. Many studies have shown that keeping your body fat down adds years to your life.

Using the new Strength & Conditioning Facility at Bell’s Sport Centre in Perth

The new gym at Bell’s means that now is a great time to begin a strength and conditioning programme. Access to this gym is only permitted if you have completed a Strength Induction which is different to LAL’s standard gym equipment due to the equipment and exercises involved.

Strength Inductions are available by appointment. Please Tel 01738 454647

Strength and Conditioning Gym access for all customers will be available:
Monday to Friday from 07:15am to 11pm.
Sat: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Sun: 9.00am – 10.00pm
As well as this, Live Active Leisure’s fitness team have created exciting new classes – included a Women’s Lifting Session – that will build confidence and technique for those who wish to use this facility. Initial demand for this has proven to be high so do make sure you book.

Tuesday (women only) 8pm – 9pm | Wednesday (for all) 8pm – 9pm

What is Strength & Conditioning?

Strength and conditioning at its simplest form is the practical application of sports science to enhance movement quality. It is grounded in evidence-based research and physiology of exercise and anatomy. We all move and therefore we can all benefit from a better quality of movement.

Strength and conditioning isn’t a hardcore beasting only for athletes, nor is it a particular Olympic lift, prowler push or hill sprint drill. Whilst we might associate these moves with strength and conditioning, they’re tools that aid good strength and conditioning. So… what is strength and conditioning?

Strength and Conditioning Explained

Firstly, we tend to focus on movement quality to improve performance, this can be in any given sport focusing on speed, strength and power, or equally, it could be improving performance in real-life scenarios, such as standing up with ease for elderly clients.

Secondly, we focus on preventing injury, developing better movement patterns helps to prevent injury in athletes which can help accelerate their career. In our real-life scenario, this could be an elderly client working on proprioception & balance to help them fall less frequently.

Strength and conditioning is a great way to transform your body and get huge results, whether your an athlete or amateur, expert or just starting out. It encompasses so much more than just lifting weights and focuses on a variety of tools to improve movement, health and physical performance.

Strength & Conditioning used to be a niche environment believed only to be for athletes, but as more people come to understand the many benefits of movement-based fitness; the strength and conditioning market is growing. Methods include plyometrics, speed and agility, mobility, core stability, endurance and weight training and so much more depending on the individual or teams needs!

Strength and Conditioning Benefits:

The benefits of a good strength and conditioning programme will change for every individual, depending on their abilities and goals, however, these are our top 10 favourite reasons to start strength and conditioning training.

Injury Prevention

A key pillar in strength and conditioning training is fully assessing a client’s movement patterns so that you can use movement correct techniques to prevent injuries. Injury prevention is highly beneficial to athletes and amateurs alike.

An improved level of proprioception is often achieved with strength and conditioning work. Proprioception is the awareness of movement and position in the body. This can be worked on with specific exercises and balance work. The decreased injury as a result of strength and conditioning training also plays a large role in improving proprioception.

Improved Performance

A strength and conditioning program will look to improve your performance over time. Programming is performance specific using scientifically-backed training methods. A Strength & Conditioning Coach is key to maximising your capabilities to improve performance as they will be able to identify key areas of improvement and also measure your results accurately. Performance can be improved by the technical, physical, tactical or mental factors that starting a strength and conditioning routine has on participants.

Enhanced General Health

It is a truth universally acknowledged that exercise is good for our overall health and wellbeing, from mental to physical health. The combination of strength training, HIIT training, plyometrics and cardio conditioning that characterise strength and conditioning training help to increase cardiovascular health as well as muscular, skeletal and mental health.

Strengthen bones

Strength training doesn’t just increase the strength of our muscles. In fact, there are numerous articles and research papers into the benefits of strength training improving bone density. An article published by Harvard Medical School on the effect of strength training on bone health explains:

“Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge bone-forming cells into action. That stress comes from the tugging and pushing on bone that occurs during strength training (as well as weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking or running). The result is stronger, denser bones.”

Improved posture

With improved movement mechanics comes improved posture, something with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, we could all benefit from. Posture analysis is often conducted as part of an initial assessment so movement patterns can be developed based on improving functionality for the individuals’ needs. Improved posture can lead to better overall bodily functions including your respiratory system and circulation.

Improved mood

Exercise in all shapes and forms can help to release serotonin which improves mood and strength and conditioning is no different. Seeing the progress that comes with a science-based strength & conditioning programme can also be incredibly rewarding. As an athlete, strength and conditioning can improve your performance at a competitive level which is bound to be hugely exciting for any competitor!

Increased Muscle Mass and Metabolism

Strength and conditioning training helps to build muscle, which in turn gives your metabolism a boost as muscle burns more calories at rest. A research paper published in the National Library of Medicine discovered that hypertrophy (building muscle) has increased metabolic benefits. An increase in lean muscle mass reduces the risk of insulin resistance, a group of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other factors which can lead to ill health such as elevated fasting glucose and triglyceride levels, hypertension, obesity and reduced HDL cholesterol.

Exercise Can Become More Enjoyable

When you move correctly and you notice improvements in your movement technique, exercise becomes more enjoyable. This is not only because progress is motivating, but also because strength and conditioning helps to prevent injuries by developing quality movement patterns. A reduced concern with the risk of injury also helps to make training more enjoyable!

Faster Recovery After Injury

One of the principles of strength and conditioning is to reduce injury through better movement, but unfortunately, sometimes injuries will still happen. Where strength and conditioning can help here is that your muscles will be stronger and more adapt which will aid the recovery process. A strength & conditioning coach will also be able to identify which movement patterns are out of bounds and how to use exercise to condition your muscles back to performance.

As you can see, strength and conditioning benefits so many areas of not just sport, but everyday life. Incorporating some of the principles into your own or your clients’ training can really make a difference to how they perform, move and live.

If you would like to learn more on the principles of strength and conditioning, sign up to our free Ebook which offers a complete beginners guide to help you master the basics here:

Get your free Introduction to Strength & Conditioning Ebook

If you would like to advance your fitness career and become a Strength & Conditioning Coach, click here to find out how:

Discover how to become a strength and conditioning coach

What is Strength & Conditioning Training?

66 Shares (Last Updated On: September 17, 2019)

Adding Strength & Conditioning to your workout regime has many benefits, including helping you onto a healthier and happier you!

What is strength and conditioning? With all the different forms of fitness routines and exercises classes out there, it can get confusing. I mean which one do you do? Which workout is best for you? Do you try to do a little bit of everything? I am sure you have heard the term, Strength and Conditioning, but I figured I would explain exactly what it is so you can decide if you should be doing it.

So, what exactly is Strength & Conditioning Training?

You may have heard of strength and conditioning before, but if not, this is a type of exercise that places focus on building your strength, endurance, and size of your muscles. Strength & Conditioning training will help improve the strength of your tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments. This type of workout will help train your body to be stronger, and in turn, help ease the burden of bone loss as we get older. Keep in mind that it is also important to eat well and always consult a doctor before trying anything new.

I love being able to get some S&C training in with my Jazzercise class. These classes help me get my heart pumping and my muscles strong!

S&C training isn’t about a particular workout, per se, it’s all about the tools you use to strengthen your muscles and work to build your endurance. So you can do cross fit, Jazzercise, spinning, and weight lifting, but the key is to morph your at-home workout into something that helps make your muscles stronger.

Why is Strength and Conditioning Important?

I’ve shared the benefits of adding weights to your workout in the past, which are quite similar to S&C training. Let’s dig a little deeper into why Strength and Conditioning training is important.

Helps Builds Muscle Size

Men and women alike enjoy having tone to their muscles, I mean I do!

Improved Endurance

As I said, this is all about improving the endurance of your muscles. This means you can run longer, spin longer, and ultimately do any activity longer.

Improves Speed

Just like your endurance, you get faster in all activities as your body is healthier and able to handle more stress than it was able to handle before Strength & Conditioning training.

Better Posture

This type of training helps you lift and hold your body in an upright position frequently, which helps you have better posture at all times.

Raises Your Metabolism

Who doesn’t love a good metabolism? You will find that training works to boost your metabolism by replacing fat with muscle on your body.

Faster Rehabilitation

If you get injured, you’ll have a quicker healing process with those muscles you’ve built from your training workouts.

Helps Prevent Obesity

Strength and Conditioning replace your body fat with muscle, which means you’ll be at a lower risk for obesity.

Achieve Weight Loss Goals

As you work to improve your strength and endurance, you’ll be more apt to achieve your weight loss goals!

Reduces Health Risks

Strength and Conditioning training helps reduce your health risks for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes as you work to replace fat with muscle.

You’ll Look Great

Honestly? You probably looked great before, but now? You look fabulous! Being able to see a little muscle tone, feel stronger, and stand up taller helps you enjoy looking in the mirror again.

You’ll Feel Great

When you work hard to replace fat with muscle, you will start to feel happier and more confident!

I hope you’re convinced now. Adding Strength & Conditioning training in your workout is a great way to reduce health risks, improve muscle tone, size and endurance, plus you will feel healthier. And who doesn’t want to feel happier and healthier?! I know I love being able to add weights into my daily workouts.

Do you add strength & conditioning to your workouts?

Now that you are working on gaining muscle, be sure to take care of your body, allow it to heal and don’t forget to stretch!

Discover the Benefits of Yoga

Be sure to check out all my healthy lifestyle recipes and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for more health and wellness tips.

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Just a few reasons why you need to add strength training to your routine…

Besides looking and feeling great, there are many amazing benefits to be had from strength training consistently. Let’s find out more about your gains (ladies this means you too!)

Benefit #1: Maintaining Muscle Tissue

Around when you turn 30 years old, growth hormones decrease dramatically in the body. Because of this, you could lose about 8-10% of your muscle tissue every decade. Muscles are the basis of your metabolism, so if your muscles decrease by 8-10%, your metabolism will also decrease by 8-10%.

By strength training twice per week you will change that 8-10% to ONLY 1-2% every decade. That means if you simply strength train twice per week, at age 80 you will be 5-10% less of the person you were when you were 30!!

Benefit #2: Increased Strength

Increased strength allows you to lift heavier objects. Shortly after beginning a strength training program, you will find that daily tasks seem much easier. This translates into your personal life on many levels. Think lifting a 20 pound weight at the gym and then heading home to lift your 20 pound child. Phew, what a great workout!

Benefit #3: Improved Bone Health

Strength training is effective in increasing bone density and strengthening tendons and ligaments. Developing strong bones reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and decreases the risk of bone fractures.

Benefit #4: Controlled Body Fat

Building muscle actually helps to more effectively burn calories. Did you know that muscle burns three times the amount of calories that fat burns?! The more muscle tone you have, the higher your metabolism will become.

Benefit #5: Decreased Risk of Injury

Improving muscle strength decreases the risk of falling and other related injuries. Developing strong bones and muscles can help to reduce the severity of falls. Increased strength will also allow your body to be more resistant to injuries, and general aches and pains.

Now that you know some of the MANY benefits of strength training, let’s get to it! Please remember to always practice proper form when weight lifting. For more information, talk to one of our trainers.

10 Health Benefits of Strength Training That Are Backed by Science

The health benefits of strength training extend far beyond weight management and aesthetics.

Yep. Although most people get into exercise purely for cosmetic reasons (i.e. to build muscle, lose fat and increase their physical attractiveness), there is a substantial body of scientific evidence pointing to numerous health benefits of strength training.

But first, what is strength training?

Strength training (also known as weight training or resistance training) is a type of physical exercise which uses resistance to oppose the force generated by muscles through concentric and eccentric contractions.

While most people associate strength training with lifting weights (barbells and dumbbells), it can also be done using other equipment (e.g.: bands, suspension ropes, gym machines, etc.) or using no equipment at all (e.g. body weight exercises, such as push-ups and pull-ups).

Why doesn’t everyone lift weights?

Until recently, insufficient evidence to support the role of strength training in health promotion coupled with the belief that it should only be done by strength athletes and bodybuilders meant that the general population saw little reason to ever engage in resistance training. Thankfully, all that has now changed and people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds are hitting the gym to lift weights!

So, without further ado, here are 10 science-backed health benefits of strength training.

1. Boosts metabolic rate

One of the most well-known health benefits of strength training is that it increases the body’s metabolic rate which, in turn, can help protect from obesity and from all the health conditions that accompany it. This happens in two ways:

  1. Acutely for re-modelling purposes
  2. Chronically for ongoing tissue maintenance

Acutely, strength training causes muscle microtrauma which requires energy-intensive re-modelling.

Simply put, strength training results in tiny injuries to the muscle fibers and connective tissues of the muscles used which the body then has to “fix”. This process is called re-modelling and requires quite a bit of energy to be carried out.

In fact, according to scientific research, regularly-performed resistance training will increase Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) by 5-10% for re-modelling purposes. With the average person’s RMR being around 1600 calories per day, that’s an additional 80-160 calories burned per day.

Chronically, properly-performed resistance exercise results in an increase in muscle mass, which requires more energy for ongoing maintenance and which, in turn, increases the body’s metabolic rate.

To put this into numbers, a 10 pound increase in muscle tissue will raise Resting Metabolic Rate by around 60 calories per day. While this increase is by no means huge, it can certainly add up over time.

2. Improves physical function

Aging coupled with physical inactivity gradually results in a reduced ability to perform basic activities of daily life, including walking around, getting out of a chair, picking up things, and reaching for things in high shelves.

According to research, the health benefits of strength training include that it 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 achieved partly because of the positive effects that strength training has on muscle and strength as well as on body fat levels.

3. Helps prevent/manage type 2 diabetes

Physical inactivity, poor dietary habits, obesity, and age-related declines in insulin sensitivity all contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

The health benefits of strength training include that it can help with the prevention and management of diabetes by:

  • decreasing abdominal fat, since insulin resistance seems to be related to the increased levels of visceral fat in adults,
  • reducing glycosylated hemoglobin levels,
  • increasing the density of glucose transporter type 4, and
  • improving insulin sensitivity.

The above are supported by a number of scientific studies, including by this meta analysis by Flack et al.

4. Improves cardiovascular health

Although there are a number of risk factors which are associated with cardiovascular disease and which we have no control over (such as age, gender, and genetics) there are a few ones which we can control.

These modifiable risk factors include, but are not limited to:

  • obesity,
  • type 2 diabetes,
  • resting blood pressure, and
  • blood lipids.

Obesity has been linked to a number of risk factors which contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. According to scientific research, strength training can help in the management of obesity, with studies showing that it can result in a significant decrease in fat mass. Research also suggests that strength training causes significant reductions in subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat.

Type 2 diabetes is also a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. As mentioned above, resistance exercise is known to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially in people who are at higher risk of developing diabetes in the first place.

High resting blood pressure (hypertension) is another major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Hypertension stresses the body’s blood vessels, causing them to become weak and clogged. Numerous studies have shown significant decreases in resting blood pressure in subjects performing regular resistance training for a few weeks. In fact, a 2005 meta analysis reported that blood pressure reductions associated with resistance training averaged around 4.5-6.0 mm Hg for systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

5. Reduces blood pressure

Hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) is a medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.

Sadly, approximately 85 million Americans (around one third of all US adults) have hypertension.

The good news?

A number of studies have found that two or more months of regular strength training can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in subjects with hypertension.

This study, for example, which included more tore than 1,600 participants aged between 21 and 80 years old, found that strength training twice or three times per week significantly reduced systolic blood pressure readings by 3.2 and 4.6 mm Hg, respectively, while it also reduced diastolic blood pressure by 1.4 and 2.2 mm Hg, respectively.

Moreover, a 2005 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by Cornelissen and Fagard reported reductions that averaged 6.0 mm Hg in systolic and 4.7 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure, and concluded that resistance training could become part of a non-pharmacological intervention strategy to prevent and combat hypertension.

6. Improves blood lipids

A typical blood lipid profile usually refers to the blood levels of:

Undesirable blood lipid profiles, also known as dyslipidemia, usually mean that LDL and/or triglyceride levels are high and that, sometimes, HDL levels are low, and are one of the recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Although some research has found no significant changes of strength training on blood lipids, most studies, such as this one, this one, and this one, have shown that the health benefits of strength training do actually include improvements in blood lipid profiles.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) position stand on Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults, the available scientific evidence suggests that strength training may increase HDL cholesterol by 8% to 21%, decrease LDL cholesterol by 13% to 23%, and reduce triglycerides by 11% to 18%.

7. Helps manage chronic pain

Chronic pain, often defined as pain that lasts over 12 weeks, is a major public health problem. According to a 2011 report by the the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the prevalence of chronic pain in the United States has been estimated to be close to 116 million, which means that approximately half of all American adults are living with chronic pain.

The health benefits of strength training include that it can treat several types of chronic pain, including low back, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia pain.

Low back: A large number of randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews have found that exercise reduces pain and improves physical function in people suffering with low back pain. The efficacy of strength training alone has been examined in fewer trials, with a quantitative review by Hayden et al. revealing that strength training is as effective in reducing pain and more effective in improving physical function than aerobic training in those suffering with low back pain.

Osteoarthritis: Research suggests that exercise of all types is effective in reducing osteoarthritic pain, with quantitative reviews, such as this one by Roddy et al. and this one by Pelland et al., that looked at trials utilizing strength training alone, showing a moderate-sized, positive effect of strength training for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Fibromyalgia: Randomized controlled trials that have examined the effects of strength training alone on pain in fibromyalgia patients have found pain reductions that range from moderate (e.g., in this study) to large (e.g. in this study), with the evidence supporting the conclusion that strength training alone effectively reduces pain intensity among patients with fibromyalgia.

8. Increases bone mineral density

Bone mineral density (BMD) refers to the amount of bone mineral per unit of bone tissue, and, essentially, reflects the strength of bones. Low bone mineral density (osteoporosis or osteopenia) means that bones are weak and, therefore, more prone to fractures.

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan, with more than 8.9 million fractures worldwide caused by osteoporosis.

According to research, adults who do not perform strength training may experience up to a 3% reduction in bone mineral density every year of their life.

On the positive side, a number of longitudinal studies as well as a recent review by Going and Laudermilk, have found significant increases in BMD of up to 3% with strength training%.

Moreover, although much of the research on strength training and bone mineral density has used older women as subjects, there is evidence which suggests that young men may also increase BMD by up to 7.7% through resistance training.

Overall, the majority of studies in this area suggest that the health benefits of strength training include an increase in bone mineral density in both younger and older adults, and may have a stronger effect on BMD than other types of exercise.

9. Enhances mental health

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services, mental health includes people’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Since it significantly affects how we think, feel, and act, it’s no surprise that it’s considered to be hugely important at every stage of our lives.

Cognitive abilities: A number of scientific studies, such as this one, this one and this one, have found that strength training results in significant improvements in cognitive abilities. Moreover, a meta-analysis by Colcombe and Kramer showed that an exercise regimen involving both strength training and aerobic activity resulted in significantly greater cognitive improvement in older adults than did aerobic activity alone.

Self-esteem: Although self-esteem is relatively stable over time and less likely to be affected by exercise, positive changes of strength training on self-esteem have been reported in numerous studies, including this one in older adults, this one younger adults, this one in cancer patients, and this one in participants of cardiac rehabilitation.

Depression: A number of studies have examined the effects of strength training on depression levels as well as on symptoms of depression. Although the results have been mixed, O’Connor et al., in a review of the literature, concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support strength training as an effective intervention for helping to reduce the symptoms of depression in adults with depression.

Anxiety: Randomized controlled trials that have investigated the effects of strength training on anxiety (such as this study and this study) have found an overall small, but statistically significant, reduction in symptoms of anxiety, with moderate intensity training (50-60% of 1RM) showing the strongest positive effect. Overall, the available evidence suggests that strength training consistently reduces anxiety symptoms in healthy adults.

Taken together, the studies above on the the different components of mental health suggest that the health benefits of strength training include an improvement in mental health.

10. Reverses aging factors

Finally, some interesting research which has investigated the effects of strength training on muscle mitochondrial content and function suggests that resistance training can increase both the mitochondrial content and the oxidative capacity of muscle tissue.

Moreover, some research on older adults with a mean age of 68 years showed a reversal in mitochondrial deterioration that typically occurs with aging, with the older participants experiencing gene expression reversal which resulted in mitochondrial characteristics similar to those in moderately active young adults with a mean age of 24 years.

Overall, the available scientific evidence to date suggests that the health benefits of strength training include a reversal of aging factors in skeletal muscle.

Conclusion

So there you have it.

When properly performed, research suggests that the health benefits of strength training are numerous and, often, unique to this specific type of exercise.

Just remember, however, that it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, as well as to get guidance by a certified fitness professional regarding proper training programming and the correct execution of exercises.

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7 Benefits of Strength Training

A type of training that reduces body fat, increases lean muscle mass, burns calories more efficiently and reduces your risk of injury – surely not possible? Thankfully it is, with resistance training providing all of these benefits and more. Of course, cardio is an important part of fitness too, but the benefits of strength training are major. For this reason, strength training should be seen as an important part of overall fitness and should be included in training programs for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

So, what exactly is resistance training?

Broadly defined, resistance training (AKA strength training or weight training) is any activity that requires muscular actions of the body to overcome or attempt to overcome an opposing force. This opposing force can be provided by various means in a fitness environment such as barbells, dumbbells, fixed weight machines, rubber tubing, body weight, medicine balls and other weighted implements.

Benefits of Resistance Training –

Increased Strength and Muscular Endurance:

The most obvious benefit of weight training is that it will make you stronger and increase your physical work capacity. Not only will this help you train harder and for longer, but it will also increase your ability to perform day-to-day activities and be beneficial for other areas of your life. Lifting weights on a regular basis will help everyday activities become that bit easier – think carrying groceries, housework, gardening, carrying the kids etc.

Effective Weight Management:

Strength training can help to both manage and lose weight, as it increases your metabolism to help you burn more calories. A good resistance workout increases your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, meaning your metabolism remains active and your body continues to burn calories long after the workout has taken place.

Maintain Flexibility and Balance:

Lifting weights helps to work the joints through a full range of motion, keeping them strong and flexible and contributing to better balance as you age. If you are training an older client or are of an older demographic yourself, this is a particularly important benefit to note, as strength training has been shown to reduce risk of falling by 40 per cent.

Boosts Energy Levels and Mood:

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins, helping to lift energy levels and improve your mood. Studies have also shown that both men and women feel better about themselves when they lift weights. By getting stronger, being able to lift more weight and noticing changes to their body over time, both men and women build confidence, improve body image and enhance their self-esteem.

Adds Variety and Provides a Challenge:

Doing the same cardio workouts for a while can get a little boring. The great thing about strength training is that there’s so many ways to set up your workouts with hundreds of new exercises to try, different types of resistance and a variety of ways to work different parts of the body. Strength training also provides your body with a completely different challenge to cardio training, which you will probably feel in the days following your session – hello DOMS!

Reduces Risk of Injury:

Resistance training not only makes your muscles stronger, but also strengthens your connective tissues. Increasing the strength of your ligaments and tendons leads to improved motor performance and less strain on joints, hence reducing risk of injury.

Increases Bone Density:

Declining muscle mass is a natural part of aging, with as much as 3-5% per decade being lost after the age of 30. Less muscle mass means greater weakness and less mobility, increasing your risk of both falls and fractures. Regular strength training increases bone mineral density in both younger and older adults and helps to reduce the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis down the track.

There are too many physical, mental and overall health benefits to leave resistance training out of your workout schedule. Get started by getting in touch with a personal trainer, who can guide you through a safe an effective program, or alternatively study our Cert III & IV in Fitness and become a qualified Personal Trainer yourself!

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