For many people, "strength training" conjures up images of bulky body builders. However, strength training isn't about making yourself buff. It's about improving your overall health, and your quality of life. Here's a look at what strength training can do for you.
What Exactly Is Strength Training
Before jumping into how strength training can help, you should know a little more about what it is. You may see strength training also called resistance training. It's exercise that builds muscle, but you shouldn't confuse it with weight training. You can use weights in strength training, but it's not a necessity.
Body weight as resistance – Exercises like pushups, pull-ups, and crunches all provide resistance training with no additional accoutrements.
Free weights and weight machines – As stated, weights are not a necessity, but weight training does represent one form of strength training.
Medicine balls – Also called an exercise ball. This weighted ball provides resistance during various types of exercises.
Resistance bands – Think of them as large rubber bands. You can use them to provide resistance during various types of exercises.
The general benefits of strength training, no matter your method, include increased strength, endurance, and weight management. Although, the benefits go far beyond that as well.
The Health Benefits of Strength Training
The benefits of strength training aren't theoretical. You really can improve your life in a multitude of ways just by doing some strength building exercises.
Increased lifespan – Strength training can literally help you live longer. It does through a combination of several other benefits.
- Lowers blood pressure, which reduces stress and hypertension
- Increases bone density, which lowers the possibility of bone diseases
- Increases metabolism, which helps to burn calories and control weight
- Improves muscle strength, which serves to protect your joints and soft tissue
Building muscle, all on its own, improves your quality of life. That added strength and endurance allows you to do just about anything better. As you age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain strength. It will help you stay active, and remain independent. Beyond that, strength training actually reduces the risk of you suffering injuries of all types.
Improved mental health – What can come as a surprise to many people is that strength training can improve mental health. It can help to alleviate depression, increase mental acuity, and lower episodes of anxiety.
Beyond anything else, there's also that boost in confidence and self-esteem that comes from strength training. Altogether, these exercises can literally change your life for the good.
How to Get Started with Strength Training
If you've never embarked on a routine exercise regimen before, it's a good idea to talk it over with your doctor first. Other than that, joining a gym or speaking to a personal trainer can help. Doing some research online can also help you figure out where to start.
No matter what, start light. Strength training exercises require you to do them right. Even if you're just going to do some pushups and sit-ups at home, you need to learn proper technique. Otherwise, you can do yourself harm over time.