Resistance training, often overlooked in the realm of fitness, holds incredible potential for transforming not only our physical appearance but also overall well-being. Beyond the sculpted muscles, resistance training offers a multitude of benefits that extend to mental health, bone density, metabolism, and beyond. Looking even further, resistance training affects hormonal health which influences a majority of your body’s functions. In this blog post, we dive into the compelling advantages of incorporating resistance training into your fitness routine and why it is crucial to start now.
Muscle Development and Toning:
Resistance training is a proven method for building and toning muscles. By engaging in exercises that target various muscle groups, individuals can sculpt their bodies and achieve a more defined, lean appearance. This not only enhances physical aesthetics but also contributes to improved posture and body mechanics.
Unlike some cardiovascular exercises that primarily burn calories during the workout, resistance training has a lasting impact on metabolism. Building lean muscle mass increases the body's basal metabolic rate, leading to continued calorie burn even at rest. This can be a game-changer for those looking to manage or lose weight.
Bone Health and Density:
Resistance training places stress on bones, stimulating the production of new bone tissue and increasing bone density. This is particularly crucial as we age, helping to prevent conditions like osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, are especially effective in promoting bone health. According to the Cleveland Clinic (2021), after the age of 35, we start to break down more bone than we build up (a little less than 1% per year).
Improved Joint Functionality:
Contrary to the misconception that resistance training may harm joints, it actually supports joint health when performed with proper form. Strengthening the muscles around joints provides stability and can alleviate issues like arthritis. Resistance training also strengthens ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and facia improving the structures around bones and muscle. It's essential to start with appropriate weights and progress gradually to minimize any risk.
Enhanced Mental Well-being:
Exercise, including resistance training, has been linked to improved mental health. The release of endorphins during and after a workout can reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Resistance training also helps to regulate hormonal health which affects almost every part of our body including our mental state. The sense of accomplishment and increased self-esteem from progressing in resistance training further contributes to positive mental well-being.
Chronic Disease Management:
Resistance training plays a role in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. The improvements in muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and overall fitness can be beneficial for individuals with various health concerns.
Versatility and Accessibility:
One of the great advantages of resistance training is its versatility. Whether using free weights, resistance bands, or body weight exercises, it can be adapted to various fitness levels and preferences. This makes it accessible to a wide range of individuals, from beginners to seasoned athletes. You only really need two to three sessions of resistance training of 30 minutes per week to see benefits. Ideally sessions would last around 45-60 minutes but for people with busy schedules, 30 minutes is better than nothing.
Incorporating resistance training into your fitness is essential for overall health and well being. As I mentioned, starting resistance training now rather than later will help offset the bone density lost each year starting at age 35. You can think of resistance exercise as an investment in yourself, providing you with a boost in resting metabolism, longevity, and mental well-being.
professional, C. C. medical. (n.d.). Osteopenia (low bone density): What is it, prevention, symptoms, causes & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21855-osteopenia