The Importance of Strength Training
Before defining strength training, it’s important to simply define strength…
Simply put, strength is a measure of how strong you are. In other words, it’s a physical attribute that measures the capacity of one’s ability to withstand force, pressure, and/or resistance. Obviously stated, strength lives on a spectrum.
While there are various types of strength, the ability to place or withstand force on a given object, whether that be lifting, pushing, carrying, holding, or otherwise, is directly related to muscular size and the ability to activate those muscle fibres.
Because strength lives on a spectrum, or scale if you will, it can be easily measured in various ways. In practice, then, strength is the ability to exert a given amount of force on or against a given surface; yet another precursor for overall fitness.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what strength is, strength training is simply the act of seeking to improve strength via a variety of modalities, however, largely through lifting weights.
Disregarding muscular size alone, strength training has several benefits, both for health, wellness, and performance. Here are just some of the many benefits that you can come to expect!
The Benefits of Strength Training
The benefits of exercise at large are profound for everybody, whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, increase strength, or otherwise. With a global epidemic of obesity, mental health concerns, and all the health implications that come with it, however, exercise is particularly important for these subset populations…
As discussed above, strength training, in particular, boasts an abundance of health benefits, not limited, however, to weight loss, strength gains, and muscle building. With that said, below are several benefits of strength training…
- Increases Lean Muscle Tissue
- Increases Bone Density
- Improves Physiological Resilience, Thus Reducing Injury Risk
- Boosts Cardiovascular Health, Thus Reducing Health Risk
- Improves BMR, thus metabolism
- Aids in Fat Loss and Weight Loss
- Reduces Stress, Thus Improving Mood
While these certainly aren’t all of the amazing benefits of strength training, they’re certainly the most commonly reported. By simply implementing a consistent strength training regimen, you can quickly begin to experience the results you desire, whatever they may be.
Strength Training and Weight Loss
When you think about fat loss or weight loss, your natural instinct is to immediately consider cardiovascular activity as a primary prescription. While cardio is an incredible tool, it’s definitely not the only way, nor the most effective way to stimulate fat loss/weight loss.
Not only can strength training burn more calories than a standard cardiovascular workout, but it also elicits a post-workout response that burns even more calories after the workout is complete. This process is otherwise known as EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
Moreover, when you build lean muscle mass, you inevitably improve your BMR or basal metabolic rate. Without getting too detailed into the science, improving your BMR implies speeding up your metabolism, thus aiding in greater weight loss results.
In short, if weight loss is your ultimate goal, and keeping it off is your largest challenge, implementing an effective and consistent strength training regimen will not only pay off in the short to medium term but for the years that follow.
Why Strength Training is So Important
Strength is important for several reasons, performance being one of the most common. If you don’t prioritize performance, however, but instead value overall health instead, strength still persists to be of utmost importance. Here’s why
As we age, our muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments all begin to weaken and deteriorate. Simply put, strength training combats and prolongs this from happening. The good news? No matter your age, strength can always be improved upon.
This means that even if you currently have less than optimal strength, even poor levels of strength, whether from age, inactivity, or even injury, you still have the ability to improve upon and thus reverse the future risk of certain health conditions from developing (muscle deterioration, traumatic knee injuries, bone fractures, hip replacements, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, etc).
Ultimately, the stronger you are, the safer and more physically prepared you are to take on life. Indirect benefits of strength training include reduced stress, improved mood, and an overall improved state of well-being and confidence.
A Final Word of Advice
If you’re concerned with your current strength levels, especially if you’re reaching or have reached an elder age, don’t hesitate to consult with your primary care physician.
Not only will they be able to identify any potential physical ailments such as osteoporosis but they can also safely guide you towards improving upon your overall strength and physical health.
Your health is the most important metric of all and it’s never too late to start. While physical health comprises several important metrics, strength is one of the most important.
That’s not to suggest you should seek to become the world’s next strongest man or woman, but it does suggest that you should do all that you can to continuously improve it, strength training included.