Life & Living
I’m a 41 year old mother of two girls and one French bulldog, and I’m a Personal Fitness Coach. I work one to one with clients aged 18-80, and have additional specialisms in pre and post natal training, GP exercise referral, cancer rehabilitation and pilates. I also run community fitness classes in the Suffolk coastal area.
Time to pick up those weights!
Why strength training is important for everyone!
So, let’s talk strength training… ‘But wait, I don’t want to end up looking like a body builder, lifting weights will make me bulky, won’t it?!’. Absolutely not, that’s like being scared to drive in case you end up a Formula One driver! Strength training has so many important health benefits, and using appropriate methods it can be done by absolutely everyone, regardless of age or ability.
Strength training is also known as Resistance Training. It can include the traditional weights, bodyweight exercises like push ups and squats, and various other equipment such a resistance bands and suspension trainers. It is essentially any exercise that involves you lifting, pushing or pulling a load.
So, what are the benefits, and why should you be doing it?
Let’s consider the health benefits first and foremost:
- Helps to maintain, or even improve bone density. According to the NHS, bone density begins to decrease around the age of 35, as we age, we become at increased risk of developing Osteoporosis. For women this risk increases further due to hormonal changes following the menopause.
- Strengthens joints. Our muscles support and protect our joints, so stronger muscles equal stronger joints!
- Reduces this risk of developing heart disease. A 2018 study from the American College of Cardiology found that strength training was better at reducing a person’s risk of heart disease than cardio exercise such as walking or cycling (although a mixture of both is necessary for overall health).
- Improves mood and mental health. There’s no denying when you weight train you definitely get a certain sense of power and capability. Studies have shown that regular weight training can lead to a significant reduction in the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Mobility and independence. Strengthening muscles and joints allows us to remain more active as we age.
- Makes everything easier! Heavy shopping bags? No problem, Moving furniture? Easy peasy! Having a stronger body makes everyday tasks that much easier.
And of course, there are some aesthetic benefits to strength training…
- Being ‘toned’. It’s not a phrase I like, because it leads people to believe you can ‘tone’ fat and turn it into muscle (you absolutely cannot!). When someone has a toned and firm appearance, that’s muscle! We can see it because they have reduced their overlying body fat and built muscle through strength training.
- Burn more calories – Having more muscle mass means you burn more calories at rest (not to mention all the calories you burn during the workouts!).
Strength training is so important regardless of your age, gender or ability. If you are new to it, I would definitely recommend getting some guidance from a Personal Trainer as technique is key to ensure that you are performing the exercises effectively and safely.