Strength training represents a set of exercises that increase strength, muscle mass, and endurance. It also burns fat, improves structural strength, and has many other important benefits, physical and psychological. All exercises that increases the muscular strength and lean muscle tissue are further defined as resistance training. Fitness health pointed out that “Resistance training is defined as performing an exercise that forces the muscles to contract when moving an object of mass.”
Resistance training program is one of the best ways to gain more strength, if done regularly throughout the week. In the Journal of Exercise Physiology researchers have concluded in their study that “two to four weekly training sessions are sufficient to produce significant strength gains”. Strength training has more benefits than we might think, as pointed out above. Let’s see which ones, and why is it important to include strength exercises in our fitness routine.
Increases the strength of bones, muscles and connective tissues
By inducing stress on the body adaptation occurs. In the book “Strength and Power in Sport”, in the chapter – Connective Tissue and Bone Response to Strength Training – authors pointed out that “Important benefits of strength training include the physical aspect, such as adaptations of the connective tissues; stronger tendons and ligaments provide a better capacity to resist injury, and bone has been shown to significantly adapt in strength, mineral content and mineral density if subjected to high enough strains and strain rates.”
When we strengthen the muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons, we increase the mobility, balance and stability. The risk of injury is decreased, which is important especially in the elderly who go through muscle and bone loss because of the aging process. Also, the study from 2006 North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy reveals that “one session of eccentrical training through a full range of motion improved hamstring flexibility better than the gains made by a static stretch group or a control group.” So this tells us that ST is in some cases better from static training for flexibility.
Strength training decreases the risk of metabolic disorder and diseases
Chronic diseases are one of the most dominant ailments in humans and represent a challenge for the health system. They are associated with sedentary lifestyle and that’s why strength training can help and lower the risk of these diseases.1
It’s proven that training boosts our metabolism by increasing metabolic activity and therefore decreasing metabolic disorders and the risk of chronic diseases. In the study “Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and the Metabolic Syndrome” researchers said that “the combined effect of increasing activity on these risk markers, an improvement in fitness, or both, has been shown to have a major impact on health outcomes related to the metabolic syndrome”.
The energy used by the body is predominantly gained from the oxidation of carbohydrates and fats. Making them a major substrate sources for energy production in skeletal muscles and the contraction of skeletal muscles during physical exercise.2 So, exercising boosts the activity of the metabolism and transforms these substrates into ATP, not allowing them to accumulate in the body and cause further problems in the metabolism.
Strength training helps weight loss
Of course exercising can help us lose weight, but how?
In the study “Strength training and weight loss” researchers wrote that “It is believed that the main mechanism by which ST contributes significantly to the weight loss process is the increase in resting metabolic rate”. The resting metabolic rate or RMR is the number of calories that your body burns while at rest. On average the number for men is 1600 and for woman 1400 calories per day. By increasing the RMR number you increase the number of calories burned while resting, which means exercising affects how much calories you burn through the whole day and not just while training.
Psychological benefits of strength training
Depression, anxiety and other mental issues are very common today, AS IT GIVES WAY IN extreme forms, also HAS ITS PLACE TROUGHOUT everyday life. It happens that our thoughts accumulate and we cannot process them accordingly, witch makes our level of happiness hormones drop, etc.
Strength training can help us overcome this problem and boost our mental health. In the study by Sports Med the conclusion was that the “RET (resistance exercise training) significantly improves anxiety symptoms among both healthy participants and participants with a physical or mental illness.”
The list provided by Amenda Ramirez and Len Kravitz, Ph.D. shows mental health benefits of resistance training:
Strength training has many benefits for our overall health and should be added to the fitness routine of healthy people, and people who have trouble with their health in controlled quantities. So, don’t hesitate to add a few resistance exercises to your workout and enjoy all of these benefits.
After all, we want to make all these things simpler and that’s why we created the Smart Fitness app. Our app will help you achieve your fitness goals and will make your workout routine much easier because, it allows to plan ahead your workout routine and track your progress.
To download the app click on the link Smart Fitness.
1 – Mul, J. D., Stanford, K. I., Hirshman, M. F., & Goodyear, L. J. (2015). Exercise and Regulation of Carbohydrate Metabolism. Progress in molecular biology and translational science, 135, 17–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.pmbts.2015.07.020
2 – Myers, J., Kokkinos, P., & Nyelin, E. (2019). Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and the Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, 11(7), 1652. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071652
3 – Sue Vaughan, Marianne Wallis, Denise Polit, Mike Steele, David Shum, Norman Morris, The effects of multimodal exercise on cognitive and physical functioning and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in older women: a randomised controlled trial, Age and Ageing, Volume 43, Issue 5, September 2014, Pages 623–629, https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afu010
4 – Sue Vaughan, Marianne Wallis, Denise Polit, Mike Steele, David Shum, Norman Morris, The effects of multimodal exercise on cognitive and physical functioning and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in older women: a randomised controlled trial, Age and Ageing, Volume 43, Issue 5, September 2014, Pages 623–629, https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afu010
5 – Sue Vaughan, Marianne Wallis, Denise Polit, Mike Steele, David Shum, Norman Morris, The effects of multimodal exercise on cognitive and physical functioning and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in older women: a randomised controlled trial, Age and Ageing, Volume 43, Issue 5, September 2014, Pages 623–629, https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afu010