Do you “resist” resistance training?

15 06 2011

By Adam Ferrebee, Exercise Physiologist

A big topic in many health facilities concerns the idea of “why should I do resistance exercise?” Many people often associate resistance exercise as the classic “lifting weights”- with the idea of a dirty weight room full of muscle-bound men lifting as much as they can. In reality, resistance training really involves any device that adds resistance to an exercise. This can be done with anything that provides resistance- rubber bands, weight-stack machines, exercises that use a person’s own body weight, dumbbells, and even water! There has been a lot of research in an effort to demonstrate all the good reasons of why a person should begin a resistance training routine or at least add this into an existing exercise program.

Ultimately, the purpose of resistance training is to make an individual stronger so that he or she can better tolerate exercise and regular, daily activities. Just like everything else with exercise, this must be a structured and planned approach, and the individual is often advised in “easing into” the program, continually changing and modifying the program. It is highly encouraged by many organizations (American Heart Association, American College of Sports Medicine, etc.) to use some form of resistance exercise at least 3 times a week (and potentially more if tolerated) and at the same time, constantly progressing to gain the greatest benefits of an exercise routine.

Here are some of the chief developments from resistance exercise:
• Increased lean muscle mass
• Increased reaction time
• Improved stamina
• Increased strength levels
• Decreased body fat percentage
• Better balance and coordination
• Improvements in bone mineral density (important for the elderly and osteoporosis)
• Increases in the immune system (so less chance of getting sick!)
• Higher metabolism (because of more lean muscle)
• Joint stability
• Enhanced flexibility
• Improved insulin sensitivity (so less chance of developing type II diabetes)
• Activities of everyday life become much easier and aerobic exercise can become more tolerable as well
• Improvements in blood pressure
• It helps to lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol levels

These are just some of the many benefits of beginning resistance training program. Many of the world health organizations often recommend the addition of resistance exercise to your aerobic exercise routine to help in lowering the risk of certain diseases. Resistance exercise has been shown to help with heart disease, cholesterol levels, blood pressure issues, diabetes, osteoporosis, joint issues, weight loss, immunity and so on. So by looking at the many positive benefits of resistance exercise, you can see that not only does it help with activities of daily life, but resistance training also improves overall levels of health and fitness.




One response

15 06 2011

thanks for the article. I’ve had some less than “happy” thoughts about resistance training/ strength training during the last week.

I guess I just need to find what I like and do it — or LEARN to like something.

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