We’ve found the fountain of youth. Turns out, it’s strength training. We’re not talking about the reverse aging stuff, but a growing body of evidence suggests that strength training is fundamental to maintaining a high quality of life as we get older.
If you’ve been thinking about incorporating more resistance workouts into your routine or are new to these types of exercises, strength training is basically any physical movement that builds muscle mass, strength, endurance, and power by putting your muscles under enough tension to stimulate neuromuscular adaptations and growth.
Here are five reasons to start including strength training in your workouts:
DAILY TASKS GET A LOT EASIER.
We're talking about everything from carrying heavy groceries to walking up a flight of stairs. When you intentionally build strength, the rest of the movements you make throughout your day are a lot less taxing on your body, which becomes especially important to maintaining your independence as you get older.
STRONG MUSCLES MAKE STRONG BONES.
Weight-bearing exercises put temporary stress on your bones, stimulating your bone-building cells. Studies show that putting in the work now can lead to big dividends later, especially in fending off musculoskeletal diseases like osteoporosis, which result from the muscle mass and strength loss that comes with aging.
LOWER YOUR RISK OF INJURIES AND FALLS.
Strength training has been found to increase flexibility as much as stretching, which improves the range of motion of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and can reinforce major joints in your knees, hips, and ankles. It can also correct muscle imbalances that lead to injuries in areas like the lower back. One study found that strength training reduced the risk of injury in athletes by more than 30%. Building strength also develops balance and improves your ability to support your body, which decreases your risk of falls that can lead to fractures as you age.
MANAGE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS.
Research shows strength training can lower the risk of developing diabetes and help manage the disease in people who have it. Building skeletal muscle can increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels by taking glucose out of the blood and putting it into muscle cells, improving blood sugar management. One study also found strength training could be connected to a 30% reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.
Researchers have only recently started investigating if and how weight training impacts mental health, but the evidence is quickly piling up. While several studies have found strength training improves depression and anxiety symptoms in people who are already struggling with mental wellness, there’s proof it can also help people who are in good mental health. In the study, the control group retained their original low levels of anxiety while the weight training group scored about 20 percent better on anxiety tests, which means even people who don't struggle with anxiety can benefit from the mood-boosting properties of strength training.
The best part is you don’t need to spend hours a week lifting weights to benefit from strength training. You can see significant improvements in your strength with just two or three 30-minute strength training sessions a week.
Gold's Gym SoCal members can build their strength in several different ways. Hit the strength equipment on the gym floor or work with one of our personal trainers to take the mystery out of sets and reps. We also offer strength training in a group setting. Check out group fitness classes like BODYPUMP, BODYATTACK, LES MILLS CORE, and POP Pilates to start getting strong!