Strength training, also known as resistance training involves physical exercises designed to improve muscle fitness, strength, and endurance by pushing your muscles out of their comfort zone, forcing them to rebuild and grow stronger.
Most people associate strength training with bodybuilders lifting weights at the gym, but it’s more than that. Strength training is essential for both fitness and overall wellbeing and can benefit anyone but especially those with health problems such as heart conditions, obesity, and arthritis.
Other than physical fitness, for example, defined muscles, strength training can offer other health benefits such as:
- It protects muscle mass and bone health.
At the age of 30, we all start to lose 3-5% of our lean muscle mass with each year that passes. However, with strength training exercises, you can increase or preserve muscle mass, muscle power, and muscle strength, which are essential with aging.
Also, with just 30 minutes of high-intensity resistant training, you can improve your bone structure, strength, and density.
- It can help in the management of chronic diseases.
Studies have shown that strength training can be beneficial in pain management in people with arthritis while improving glucose control in type 2 diabetes.
- It also helps with weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
Unlike in aerobic exercise where you burn extra calories in the process, for example, during running, cycling, or walking, strength training helps you lose weight even without burning as much of the calories.
Researchers believe this is made possible due to the increased resting metabolism, meaning your body burns more calories as you go with the rest of your day and not during exercise as the case in aerobic exercises.
- It improves your moods and boosts energy levels.
Strength training will stimulate the production of endorphins, a brain chemical that triggers a positive feeling. Further studies confirm that strength training can help improve your quality of sleep.
- Strength training improves heart health.
In addition to aerobic activities, strength training exercises have shown to improve blood pressure and heart health.
Performing muscle-strengthening activities in addition to moderate-intensity exercises for 150 minutes per week is recommended as a means to control high blood pressure and reduce its associated cardiovascular risks.
Best strength training exercises you can do at home.
With strength training, it all comes down to two things:
Doing any exercise that pushes your muscles outside their comfort zone and progressively increasing your load consistently. For example, if you do one pushup right now and tomorrow you do two, you’re following the strength training rule.
Some easy workouts to do at home include:
- Dumbbell training
- Kettlebell training
- Squat to overhead raise
Resistant band exercises
- Resistant band pull apart
- Hip extension
- Resistance band leg press
Free weight exercises
- Dumbbell shoulder press exercise
- Dumbbell triceps kickback
Performing 30-45 minutes of strength training 2-3 times a week is a great way to build lean muscle mass, burn calories, and boost metabolism. This can then lead to other health-related benefits such as healthy bones and joints, with improved balance, posture, and flexibility.