The previous Get Movin’ blog post discussed why movement really is medicine and how national organizations and guidelines, informed by extensive research and scientific journals, have shown this to be true time and time again. The ideal minimum amount of movement (for adults), according to the US’ official physical activity guidelines, is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week and strength-specific training twice per week (called anaerobic activity). However, current research also supports that even just 5-10 minutes of movement has highly positive impacts on health outcomes as well.
Yet only 53% of American adults meet these guidelines for aerobic activity, and a mere ~23% meet the guidelines for both aerobic activity and strength training. These numbers alone are concerning, but the difference between them is just as distressing. More often than not, the objective benefits of strength training beyond just building strength is not common knowledge, so let this list persuade you of the importance of incorporating strength training into your fitness routine, and ultimately lifestyle.
Improved bone density
As we age, our bone density decreases, which can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures. But strength training has been shown to increase bone density, thus can help combat these risks.
Increased metabolism & improved body composition
Strength training increases muscle mass, which in turn can increase our metabolism and decrease body fat. This means your body will burn more calories at rest, ultimately helping you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity-related health issues.
Improved balance and stability
Without training balance at all, studies show that strength training and resistance training improve balance and stability scores. This is particularly important for our older populations, who have a higher incidence of fall related injuries.
Reduced risk of chronic disease
Strength training can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. This is because anaerobic exercise improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood pressure, and reduces inflammation in the body.
Improved mental health
Exercise, in general, has been shown to help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and strength training specifically has been shown to increase self-esteem and confidence in daily life.
Routine exercise, including resistance training, can improve the quality of sleep because it helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. In turn, this can help improve not only the ability to fall asleep, but also the ability to stay asleep throughout the night.
Improved overall fitness
Gain flexibility without stretching? Improve your cardio without doing cardio? Yup! By training with resistance, research shows you can increase your flexibility, endurance, and cardiovascular health (!!).
Strength training offers a wide range of benefits beyond just increasing strength. From improving bone density to reducing the risk of chronic disease, strength-specific exercise can have a significantly positive impact on one’s overall health and wellness. So while your goal at physical therapy may be to just heal from a sprained ankle, your team at Empower Physio knows this is only the beginning when it comes to living a truly healthy life. Joining the (hopefully growing!) 23% can get you there, and we’d love the help.
Keep an eye out for future blogs, share with your
friends and colleagues, and give us a visit!
-- References --
American College of Sports Medicine. (2014). ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wol
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Church, T. S., Blair, S. N., Cocreham, S., Johannsen, N., Johnson, W., Kramer, K., ... Earnest, C. P. (2010). Effects of aerobic and resistance training on hemoglobin A1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 304(20), 2253-2262. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.1710
Gordon, B. R., McDowell, C. P., Hallgren, M., Meyer, J. D., Lyons, M., & Herring, M. P. (2018). Association of efficacy of resistance exercise training with depressive symptoms: meta-analysis and meta-regression analysis of randomized clinical trials. JAMA Psychiatry, 75(6), 566-576. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0572
Kafri, M., Myslinski, M. J., & Gade, V. K. (2019). Resistance training and balance in older adults: a systematic review. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, 42(2), 92-100. doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000131
Kerr, D., Morton, A., Dick, I., & Prince, R. (1996). Exercise effects on bone mass in postmenopausal women are site-specific and load-dependent. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 11(2), 218-225. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.5650110213
Kraschnewski, J. L., Sciamanna, C. N., Poger, J. M., Rovniak, L. S., Lehman, E. B., Cooper, A. B., & Ciccolo, J. T. (2016). Is strength training associated with mortality benefits? A 15-year cohort study of US older adults. Preventive Medicine, 87, 121-127. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.02.038
Westcott, W. L. (2012). Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 11(4), 209-216. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8
Swift, D. L., Lavie, C. J., Johannsen, N. M., Arena, R., & Earnest, C. P. (2014). Exercise training and the cardiovascular response to stress. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 42(2), 120-127. doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000008