Resistance training is any kind of exercise that causes muscles to contract against some form of external resistance such as free weights, thick rubber bands or tubing, or even your own body weight. There are also many exercise machines that can be used.
Resistance training techniques work by engaging the body’s healing response to injury. As your muscles contract against the resisting forces, they experience small tears. The body repairs this damage, and as the muscles regenerate, they grow larger and stronger.
Scientists have documented several health benefits of consistent resistance training.
Muscle and Bone Mass: At its most basic level, resistance exercises increase the strength and tone of the muscles. It can also help to build and strengthen bone. This is an especially important finding for post-menopausal women since they are at high risk for osteoporosis, or bone loss.
Decrease of Falls / Risk of Injury Reduced: Falls are a problem that plague the seniors over the age of 65. Resistance work can be done by people of all ages – in one study of its benefits, the average age of participants was 87 – and it helps with balance, posture, and mobility. One study showed that senior citizens who received balance and lower limb resistance training suffered 31% fewer falls than counterparts who did not.
Weight Management: This form of activity leads to having a faster metabolism. When the speed of the metabolism increases, it becomes easier to maintain weight or even to lose a few pounds.
Pain Management: Resistance work is popular among people with chronic medical conditions that result in pain, like knee osteoarthritis. This is because the body releases chemicals called endorphins during training, which can help decrease the sensation of pain. They are also responsible for the phenomenon known as runner’s high.
Improved Mood: Doctors and mental health professionals have known for years that exercises is an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and several other mental health issues. Not surprisingly, resistance training has been linked to higher self esteem, a happier mood and increased energy levels. A part of this response may be due to the release of endorphins. Another part is probably related to an overall improvement in health and well-being.
Better Brain Function: Some studies have shown that, among healthy adults, resistance training can improve several aspects of cognition including memory and the ability to complete memory-oriented tasks.
If you are interested in starting a this form of physical activity, talk to your doctor at one of our locations. Your doctor and physical therapist can help you plan a warm up schedule, give you pointers about breathing and correct method and technique while demonstrating safe range of motion exercises.
There’s no better time than the present to add a resistance program to your exercise regimen!