Hand holding a red weight.

7 Benefits of Strength Training

Want to feel strong, burn energy more efficiently, enhance bone and heart health all while boosting your mood? Try this….

If you are looking to burn energy more efficiently, enhance bone and heart health, boost your mood and feel strong and confident, then add strength training into your weekly routine.

Strength training, also known as resistance training, weight training, and muscular training, is any physical movement in which you use resistance (whether that be your bodyweight, resistance bands, hand weights or machines) to train your muscles for strength, and endurance and/or size.

There is a common misconception that strength training leads to the development of large muscles and a bulky looking physique; but as with most things, one size does not fit all.

There are many ways to strength train, with varying goals and outcomes. Indeed, you could train to increase muscle size, but you can also train to increase power, to enhance endurance or to tone muscle and support good health.

Importantly, the benefits of strength training extend beyond just the muscles and are experienced throughout the entire body.

So why should I strength train?

 

1. Make everyday tasks easier

Make everyday tasks easier

As we age, lean muscle mass naturally diminishes. Strength training preserves and enhances muscle mass helping you to become stronger. Gaining strength promotes physical capability, which helps make everyday tasks easier, like carrying heavy groceries or laundry baskets, walking upstairs, opening food jars, working around the house or garden or playing with the kids.

 

2. Boost your metabolism

Boost your metabolism

Muscles are more metabolically efficient than fat; meaning they burn more calories than fat tissue, even at rest. What’s more, your metabolic rate is increased up to 72-hours after a strength training session, so you continue to burn more energy hours, and even days, after your workout. Consistent strength training helps transform your body and supports weight loss or weight maintenance.

 

3. Strengthen your bones

Strengthen your bones

Our bones are in a constant state of turnover. Strength training is crucial for bone development helping to slow the rate of bone loss as we age. Building strong bones reduces your risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially as you age.

 

4. Lower your risk of injury

Lower your risk of injury

Regular strength training increases range of motion around your joints, facilitating mobility and flexibility offering protection from injury. Further, strength gains can enhance balance, which may reduce risk of falls helping you maintain independence as you age.

 

5. Improve heart health

Improve heart health

By strengthening the heart and blood vessels, regular strength training helps lower blood pressure, total and LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol, and improves blood circulation. All of which support a healthy heart.

 

6. Support blood sugar regulation

Support blood sugar regulation

Muscles help reduce blood sugar levels by drawing glucose from the blood into their cells to be used as an energy source. In this way, greater muscle mass can help improve blood sugar management, which may lower your risk of developing diabetes. What’s more, strength training can help those with the condition manage it better.

 

7. Boost your mood

Boost your mood

Studies have shown an association between strength training and positive body image. Regular weight training may reduce feelings of anxiety, boost your mood and enhance your mental health. Feeling strong can help you feel good!

 

Great! Where do I start?

You can reap the benefits of strength training at any age – it’s never too late to begin. What’s more, strength training can be done anywhere – in the comfort of your own home, at the park when playing with the kids – and requires little to no equipment.

National Physical Activity Guidelines encourage Australian’s to enjoy muscle strengthening activities at least 2-days each week. If you have a chronic condition or it has been a while since you’ve been active, check with your GP or health professional before beginning a program.

If you’re new to strength training, start slow and focus on learning good form. It can be useful to learn functional, compound movements like push ups, squats and lunges. Once you feel comfortable performing these movements with your bodyweight, you can incorporate the use of resistance bands, hand weights or even items around your house. It can be beneficial to enlist the support of a professional to ensure you’re performing the moves safely and effectively.

It is important to keep in mind that any strength training regimen is best supported by enjoying a diet that incorporates a diverse and colourful variety of whole foods as suggested in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

 

How Lite n’ Easy can help?

High Protein is one of our NEW menu preference options. To support an active lifestyle, protein should be consumed regularly throughout the day to help replenish your muscles and ensure you get the most out of your workouts. Our dietitians have selected meals for each day that prioritise protein. The full meal plan is nutritionally balanced, providing more than 90g of protein per day from whole food sources while still ensuring you get at least 5 serves of veggies each day and 2 serves of fruit. Order now or give us a call on 13 15 12.

 

Dr Suzanne Pearson, Dietitian, Injury & prevention Specialist and Movement Specialist at Lite n' Easy