Strength training exercises are safe and effective for women and men of all ages. A person’s mental and emotional health can be affected by performing strength training with aerobic exercises.
Strength training can reduce signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and depression. Strength training is not just about bodybuilders lifting weights. People with health concerns, including heart disease or arthritis can often benefit the most from an exercise routine that includes lifting weights three to four days each week.
Aerobic exercises – walking, jogging, or swimming maintains the heart and lungs and increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance, yet does not make one’s muscles strong. Proper strength training makes your muscles strong. Lifting weights several days a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density.
Strength training is also called resistance training. Resistance training involves strengthening and toning your muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. Two types of resistance training:
Each method makes you stronger and will progress you in better shape.
Working out with weights:
- protects bone health and muscle mass
- makes you stronger and fitter
Strength training will add definition to your muscles and give men and women a more fit and toned body. Troy Tuttle, MS, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, advises “One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your workouts.”
Strength training can be as effective as medication in decreasing arthritis pain. One 12-month study conducted on post-menopausal women at Tufts University two days per week of progressive strength training demonstrated:
- 1% gains in hip and spine bone density
- 75% increases in strength
- 13% increases in dynamic balance
Strength training programs can also have an effect on reducing risk for falls.
BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING
Healthy Heart Tissue – Cardiac health improves when we properly strength train three times a week along with aerobic exercises. The heart disease risk is lowered when the body is leaner. The American Heart Association recommends strength training as a way to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Energy Boost Levels and Sleep Improvement – Strength training will make you feel great. It will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain). When you exercise regularly you improve sleep quality by falling asleep quickly, sleeping more deeply, awaken less often, and you sleep longer.
Healthy State of Mind – Strength training can provide a similar improvement in depression as an anti-depressant medication. An older adult’s self-confidence and self-esteem improves when strength training is cultivated into ones regular lifestyle.
Improved Glucose Control – Strength training along with other healthy lifestyle changes can help improve glucose control for the 14 million Americans with type II diabetes. An improvement in glucose control is comparable to taking diabetes medication. Lifestyle changes such as strength training have an overwhelming effect on helping older adults manage diabetes.
Increased Burned Calories – Strength training can boost your metabolism by 15 percent. More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat. Calories are burned during strength training. The body continues to burn calories after strength training.
Body and Balance Mechanics – Balance, coordination, and posture will improve with proper strength training. If you have poor flexibility and balance, strength training when done properly and through the full range of motion, can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent. A person’s flexibility and balance are important benefits as one gets older.
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Complete workout programs that include strength training.
Push ups, pull ups, jump squats, and lunges are examples of exercises that provide strength training.
Ask your doctor what type of strength training is best to meet your needs and abilities.
Work with a fitness expert to design a safe and effective strength-training program for you.