It’s no doubt that you have heard that strength and resistance training is an important part of exercise. Maybe you only do strength training, or maybe you have never stepped foot inside a gym in the uncertainty of what to do, or where to start. Well, I am here to tell you that you heard right, strength training IS important for you, no matter what your gender. But firstly let's understand why that is, and then how you can incorporate it into your daily or weekly workouts.
Apart from the obvious, which is improving muscular strength and building muscle, lifting weights or doing bodyweight strength training has far more benefits to our overall health. Below are five of the main reasons you should explore taking up this style of exercise.
It improves bone density.
Yes! Lifting weights increases bone density and may prevent the onset of osteoporosis which is especially important in females.
It can enhance fat loss.
Believe it or not, spending hours on a treadmill every day isn’t the fastest or most sustainable way to achieve healthy fat loss. Strength training increases metabolic activity therefore making your body require more energy to burn, even when you are sitting down on the couch or sleeping!
It reduces blood glucose levels.
When you exercise your muscles (bodyweight resistance or weight lifting), they then have a greater capacity to store blood glucose as glycogen, which then in turn will reduce your blood sugar.
It can improve back pain.
If you struggle with general back pain and stiffness, strength training is great to help build your core and increase mobility which may improve the symptoms you are feeling. Especially if you have a sedentary job.
It reduces stress.
The release of endorphins you get from even a 20-30 minute workout will help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, and may alleviate any physical symptoms you appear to suffer when dealing with high levels of stress. It also acts as a moving meditation. When you focus on form and technique while strength training, you often rid your mind of any other thoughts during that period. Now that is worth it, right?!
With all these great benefits in mind, I’m sure you’re asking the question… “But I don’t know where to start?” That’s ok! We all start somewhere, and there are so many ways to make strength training simple. There are great resources available online with qualified personal trainers demonstrating workouts you can do at home using just your bodyweight or small weights you may have stored away. It is crucial to ensure you are safely doing these workouts, so take the time to listen closely regarding technique, and work within what feels comfortable to you.
Even if you select two upper body exercises, two lower body exercises, and one core / abdominal exercise, you can create your own little 15-20 minute circuit and work through it at your own pace. If you are still feeling unsure, then booking a class or a one-on-one session with a personal trainer will ensure you are in a safe environment where you can ask questions and learn new things.
So next time you review your workout schedule, don’t shy away from resistance training, it could be the key to unlocking an entirely new window of healthy opportunities!
With 13 years of experience in the fitness industry, Camilla Bazley (aka @coach_camilla), is an Aussie Personal Trainer, Pilates & Spin instructor, and coach. Having worked with athletes, corporate professionals, and celebrities, her focus has always been on helping her clients to achieve healthy and active lifestyles they can sustain and enjoy. Creating balance, not a burden.