When the phrase “strength training” is mentioned most people think of heavy barbells or dumbbells and bulging muscles. This can often lead to a certain fear of not performing the exercise correctly and therefore injuring yourself or exacerbating an existing injury. However to strength train you don’t only have to use weights, things like bands, your body weight or even cans of baked beans can be just as effective as heavy dumbbells! With the correct supervision and programming the risk of injury from strength training is actually very minimal.
So why is strength training so important?
The short answer: it will keep you Moving Through Life!
When you lift any type of weight you place your muscles under stress. The human body is pretty amazing, when it realises that these muscle are being placed under a load it signals the brain to make your muscle fibres increase in size. Over time you will start to increase the amount of lean muscle mass you have and this means that you will become much stronger. Let’s face it, there is nothing more satisfying than carrying all your groceries inside in one go!
In addition to making your muscles stronger, strength training can also improve your bone density. Imagine holding a semi flexible ruler vertically on a hard surface (the ruler represents your leg bones). If you push down, the ruler will bow out. The same thing happens with our bones, they bow out under weight/stress. When your brain senses that a certain area of your bone is being stressed it will start to lay down more bone at the stress points to reinforce them, therefore making your bones stronger. However the reverse is also true, if the bone is not being stressed then the body decides the extra bone isn’t needed and starts to reabsorb it. This may lead to conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Strength training also helps manage and prevent many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and arthritis. It can also help you get a good night’s sleep, improve body composition and improve balance (have a look at our previous balance blog for an explanation of how this works). The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines state that all adults should do some type of strength training on 2 or more days per week. This could involve bodyweight exercises like squats, push ups and lunges, tasks around the home that involve heavy lifting or digging or you could join a gym, or why not try Beyond’s strength classes run by an Exercise Physiologist and do some specific resistance training in a supervised, safe environment?
Would I be suited to Beyond’s Classes?
As Beyond’s strength training classes are all supervised by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist they are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Exercise Physiologists are 4 year university qualified allied health professionals who specialise in the delivery of exercise for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries. They are trained to write and modify exercise programs to cater for your individual needs and will ensure you are only completing exercises that are appropriate (and safe) for you.