Strength training, also known as resistance or weight training, is a form of exercise that focuses on improving muscle strength. When coupled with a protein-rich and low-calorie diet, strength training can result in an aesthetically pleasing sculpted physique (who wouldn’t want that?), but there are a lot more benefits to strength training:
- Preventing Bone Loss: Most individuals start losing bone mass from the age of 30 onwards. Weight training workouts performed just twice a week can result in improved bone mineral density and strength. Postmenopausal women can especially benefit from strength training as they are at a higher risk for developing brittle bones.
- Boosting Resting Metabolism: Even while at rest, a pound of lean muscle will burn twice the number of calories as compared to a pound of fat. Boosting resting metabolism rate through strength training is a very effective strategy to ensure long term weight loss.
- Improved Body Mechanics: Regular strength training improves balance, coordination, and posture. This is beneficial in preventing fall-related injuries in older individuals.
- Management of Chronic Disease:Strength training along with healthy lifestyle changes can improve glycemic control in patients with diabetes type 2. Strengthening the muscles around arthritic joints using isometric strength training techniques can help relieve some of the pain in the joints caused by chronic osteoarthritis.
- Improved Energy & Mood: A good muscle building workout can cause the brain to release endorphins which give a natural ‘high’ improving energy levels and mood. Studies also show that sleep habits are improved with regular strength training.
Strength training does not have be restricted to working out in a gym. Start out by performing just a simple bodyweight exercise such as half-squats or pushups against a table or chair every alternate day. As your fitness levels and confidence improves, add more exercises to up the intensity and further accelerate progress.