. Resistance training improves balance, bone density and mental awareness
. Strengthens vulnerable parts of your body and makes them flexible and malleable
. Targeted training helps to strengthen muscles, tendons and joints
A workout regime that places a strong emphasis on resistance training is a great option for people at different stages of their fitness journey. It hits a lot of the key target areas in terms of what you want out of an exercise plan. It shouldn’t be your only focus because you should also incorporate some form of cardiovascular component but resistance training can certainly be one of the building blocks.
As the name suggests, the basic principle is a strength program where you work against an obvious force and challenge the muscles to become stronger and more developed. The benefits are a combination of strength, stamina and injury prevention. You can strengthen the vulnerable parts of your body such as your muscles, tendons and joints by making them more flexible and malleable. By doing this they are more likely to withstand the rigors of day to day life.
As a general rule, resistance training can be achieved through some combination of your own body weight, resistance bands, medicine balls or free weights such as dumbbells and barbells. There’s enough variety there to put together a workout plan that is stimulating and rewarding at the same time without being too predictable, and that’s the balance you’re trying to achieve. The goal is to harness and manipulate these different apparatus in such a way so that your body is challenged and forced to respond positively and decisively through the basic principles of force and resistance.
What do you want to achieve?
The next step is to determine exactly what you’re trying to achieve:
What’s the goal? What’s the endgame?
For seniors, the benefits are both physical and neurological. There is evidence that resistance training helps to improve balance, bone density and mental awareness, so a carefully structured program can certainly be of great benefit to elderly people who are possibly coming to terms with the changing nature of their bodies.
This study states that ‘A program of once or twice weekly resistance exercise achieves muscle strength gains similar to 3 days per week training in older adults and is associated with improved neuromuscular performance. Such improvement could potentially reduce the risk of falls and fracture in older adults.’
For younger people resistance training can still be a cornerstone component of your training program because of the high-impact nature of the exercises which make it a great way to burn calories and manage your weight, which is obviously one of the things that most people are trying to do with their fitness regime.
Young adults are also creating good habits they will carry on later in life. These include benefits to the heart such as reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. They can also delay the effects of arthritis by cultivating a body that is stronger and more resilient.
Older bodies deteriorate
Older bodies naturally start to deteriorate so it’s important to put in place measures that prepare us for that transformation. Resistance training is a great way of doing that. This study states that ‘Inactive adults experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade. Ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg.’
They also say ‘Resistance training may promote bone development’ and ‘enhance cardiovascular health by reducing resting blood pressure’. These are the benefits to adopting a structured resistance training program. If you want more information you can also learn the best way to safely progress through a program as you gain more experience.
NCBI: Once weekly resistance exercise improves muscle strength and neuromuscular performance in older adults
NCBI: Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health