Strength training is the perfect solution if you’re searching for an effortless way to stay in shape or improve your overall wellbeing.
For adults, the American Heart Association recommends strength training at least two days a week. But it’s essential to give your muscles plenty of rest between sessions — don’t impede recovery!
1. Increased Muscle Mass
Strength training is an effective way to build muscle and burn fat, as well as improving heart health, balance, and posture.
Muscle mass can increase your resting metabolic rate, or the number of calories burned each day when not working out. It also enhances body composition by making you appear leaner and toned.
If you’re new to weightlifting, start with smaller amounts of weight and build up gradually until you can handle heavier loads. Aim for 12 repetitions of each exercise before adding more sets or heavier weight.
2. Strengthened Bones
Strength training is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. Bone formation necessitates a certain amount of stress on the bone, signaling its forming cells to start creating new tissue.
Strengthening bones is the simplest way to build stronger ones, such as walking, jogging and climbing stairs. But if you’re too tired for that or have osteoporosis or other health issues, regular strength training can still be beneficial for your bones.
Exercise while sitting is also beneficial, as it strengthens your spine and improves balance. One exercise that can be done seated is the double arm squeeze – hold both arms behind your head and push them together.
3. Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition in which someone’s bones become weak and brittle, potentially leading to painful fractures in the spine or hip. Such fractures may rob someone of mobility and independence.
Strength training is therefore beneficial for both men and women alike, as it helps prevent bone loss while building stronger bones.
Research has demonstrated that strength training can increase total hip bone mineral density (BMD), as measured with a quick-conductance x-ray absorptiometry technique (QCT) among elderly women. This improvement was also accompanied by an increase in markers such as sclerostin, CTX, osteocalcin and 25(OH)-D; additionally, the risk of osteoporotic fracture was decreased.
4. Increased Self-Esteem
Women often avoid lifting weights for fear of appearing too “bulky.” Yet studies have demonstrated that regular strength training can have a beneficial effect on self-esteem.
Exercising can improve both physical and psychological wellbeing by raising physical self-efficacy, which in turn impacts self-esteem. Studies have also discovered that exercise improves moods and reduces depression, anxiety, and negative feelings.
Increased self-esteem can be attributed to several factors, including the feeling of accomplishment and release of feel-good hormones. Exercising regularly also provides emotional stamina and confidence which in turn lead to greater success both physically and mentally.
5. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
According to a 2018 study from Iowa State University, even minimal strength training can reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke by 40-70%.
The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, along with two or more strength-training sessions. Interval workouts — which alternate short bursts of intense activity with lighter periods — are also beneficial to your heart.
In addition to regular strength training, women can reduce their risks of heart disease by maintaining a healthy diet and weight. Smoking is another major risk factor for cardiovascular disease – so try your best to quit when possible.