Whether it’s lifting weights in the gym, completing a bodyweight challenge at the
park, or using any number of the tools available, the inclusion of activity to
increase muscle strength and composition is important for your long term health
Strength training is about ensuring you have a functioning body that can do what
you need it to, without risk of injury or fatigue.
All movement has benefits for health and wellness, but strength training comes
with added benefits including;
• Increased muscle mass and reduction in the speed of muscle loss as we
• Increased bone strength
• Better stability and balance
• Ease of completing every day activities
• Lowered blood pressure
Research has indicated that a day spent seated cannot be undone by a single
workout. But researchers at the Glasgow University found that people with low
grip strength or low fitness levels had faced twice the risk when engaged in long
periods of sedentary activities such as watching TV, than on participants who had
the highest levels of fitness and grip strength. Risks include a number of
conditions including cancer, and heart disease. The researchers believe that
increasing strength and fitness may somewhat offset the adverse health
consequences of spending a large proportion of leisure time sitting down and
watching a screen.
Strength training is not just about lifting weights, although that is an excellent
option. A great example of integrating exercise to strengthen the cardiovascular
system in conjunction with strength training is High Intensity Interval Training
(HIIT). HIIT involves alternating between higher intensity bursts of exercise, with
time to rest in between activities, and this high intensity exercise often includes
strength training exercises.
The benefits of strength training are not just proven for those who remain active
and injury free; there is increasing understanding that exercise, including strength
training, can benefit a range of specific health conditions, especially those that are
prevalent in older adults such as arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Traditionally older adults have been recommended to do light aerobic work to
improve heart health and balance to decrease the chance of falls. While these two
components are still regarded as important, there is also a benefit in participating
in strength training which involves using resistance while exercising. This can be
exercises with weights, but there are plenty of other options too.
Strength training is not ‘one size fits all’ and as with any physical activity, has
some risks. However, by working with an appropriately qualified and registered
exercise professional, the exercise and activity can be customised to your specific
needs, exercise and medical history, thus minimising risk and maximising results.
It’s never too late to get started into strength training, so regardless of your age,
today is a great day to gets started!