By Ellis Carlson, Student of Exercise Science at Eastern Washington University
What is resistance training? Resistance training (a.k.a. strength training) is a type of training that is focused on building muscular strength, endurance and overall fitness. Although resistance training is greatly beneficial to the human body, it is often misunderstood as something that only males or bodybuilders should do. In this blog post, you will learn a few of the many benefits to resistance training and why you should be implementing it into your weekly fitness routine.
Although it might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of resistance training, bone health is one of the major benefits that comes with resistance training. This includes increasing the density of your bones and helping prevent the onset of osteoporosis (a bone disease that occurs when too much bone has been lost or when the body does not make enough bone-common in women especially). This is crucial in maintaining the integrity of your skeletal system so that you can continue to do the things you love with the people you love.
Now, you might be wondering “aren’t I supposed to be doing cardio if I want to lose weight?” Well, yes and no. Resistance training is thought of by many people as something to do if you want to gain weight and “gain muscle”. But in reality, resistance training can be utilized as a way to lose weight. This type of training can increase the total amount of calories burned each day because lean mass (muscle) increases your metabolic rate. This may allow an individual to lose weight easier than cardio alone.
Disease Prevention and Other Health Benefits:
If bone health and weight loss aren’t your motivators to try more resistance training, here are some other health benefits that may be interesting to you.
- May decrease the relative risk of coronary heart disease by 30%
- May reduce all-cause mortality risk by 35%
- May reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
- May help improve blood pressure
- Often reduce levels of depression and boost mood (the “happy” hormones are released during activity)
- Also, being strong is SEXY (as Monika puts it!) 😉
Who Should Train This Way:
Everyone! This type of training is beneficial to people of all different body types, goals and lifestyles. For runners, resistance training will help with your running goals while also helping prevent injury from overuse by creating muscle balance throughout the body. Also, resistance training helps preserve lean body mass thus why it’s important in all times of life (young and old!). Sometimes people are worried resistance training will cause them to “bulk up” but it’s usually more genetics that play into that. Resistance training really is for everyone! And it’s not just pumping iron and traditional weight lifting at the gym. Resistance training includes using weights, balls, dumbbells, TRX straps, bands and even your own body weight as resistance (i.e. pilates, yoga, barre too).