Posted on 14 Sep 2018
Benefits of Strength (aka Resistance) Training
We’re often asked at FitFarms ‘what sort of exercise should I be doing?’ and I’m generally of the opinion that you should be doing whatever activity you enjoy doing be it gym, classes, cycling or rock climbing; but I thought I’d share some info from an article I was reading about some benefits of strength (aka resistance) training.
As we age our muscle mass declines by roughly 1% each year and alongside it strength, though at an even greater rate; parallel to this there is an association between lower muscle strength and greater risk of dementia, need for care and mortality.
Recent studies in the article concluded a large reduction (19-27%) in mortality of adults using strength training a couple of hours/days a week. An earlier study in a nursing home found an increase in strength of 174% after 8 weeks in a a small group of nonagernarians with a couple of the participants regaining ability to walk without a stick, and one who had regained the ability to stand from a chair independently.
Other studies have shown strength gains to improve cognition in those with subjective memory problems, reduce inflammation in adults receiving haemodialysis for kidney failure, help adults with type 2 diabetes manage sugar levels, improve bone strength in postmenopausal women as well as benefits for heart attack recovery, depression and sleep.
Strength training is the only exercise that stimulates muscle growth and thus the only kind of exercise capable of dealing with reduction in muscle mass and strength. Finally, in line with the research and the ACSM guidelines, recommendation for strength training is to partake for at least two days a week at a moderate to hard intensity and to work the major muscle groups; all I will add for anyone reading thinking ‘I’m not about to start lifting weights’ the key is ‘resistance’ be it weights, gravity, water or my favourite the resistance band -as long as resistance and intensity is there it’s all good.
Health and Fitness exercise tip by the FitFarms team. FitFarms specialises in Fitness and Weight Loss Holidays for people of all different fitness levels, shapes and sizes. Check out our next courses here.