When you decide to begin exercising, there is always that initial decision about what type of exercise you will be doing.
Whether you decide to walk, run, or play a sport, it is important that you have a fundamental level of muscular fitness to assist you with the exercises.
This is where resistance training comes into effect, as you can alter the exercises to target all areas of muscular fitness.
Throughout this post, we will define muscular fitness, and go through how resistance training can benefit you in achieving your fitness and lifestyle goals.
What Is Resistance Training?
There is a big misunderstanding of what resistance training is, as a lot of people misinterpret resistance training to be exclusive to weights and bodybuilding. Resistance training is important for all age groups and fitness levels, as it can improve how your muscles respond to exercise and everyday activities. There are many types of resistance training, from lifting weights to moving against your body weight, or even using resistance bands; each of them plays an important role in making you move against a force or resistance. The weighted resistance and repetitions of an exercise determine which component of muscular fitness is being trained. There are three main components of muscular fitness:
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Muscular Power
Each component uses the muscles in a different way, and therefore understanding what they do and how to improve in that area is very important.
Muscular strength is the ability of the muscle to produce a force to lift or move an object. This is most commonly associated with how heavy a weight you can lift.
This is important, as studies suggest that having low levels of muscular strength is an indicator for having difficulty completing everyday activities (such as bathing, toileting, and dressing) later on in life.
Muscular endurance is your ability to lift lighter weights for a lot of repetitions, or for an extended period time. This component is important in aspects such as walking, as it increases the time before muscles get tired and fatigued.
Muscular Power is your ability to lift or move a weight with speed. This can translate to improvements in activities such as jumping or sprinting, as well as improving balance and ability to stand from a seated position in older adults.
Why is Resistance Training Important?
In young and middle-aged adults, resistance training becomes the foundation of any training program as the goal is to improve overall fitness and performance.
For this age group, those who are running around playing sport and living a very active lifestyle, resistance training can improve on your baseline muscular fitness, to make you stronger and faster.
Unfortunately, as we age our muscles begin to weaken and our bone density starts to reduce. Because of this, our balance is affected, and we have a higher risk of fracture if we have a fall. As discussed previously, resistance training can improve balance and mobility to reduce your chances of having a fall. Resistance training has been proven to stop and slow the decline in bone mineral density associated with aging. This is important, as it reduces bone fragility, and therefore reduces your risk of fracture.
Due to the weakening of the muscles mentioned above, everyday activities can become a lot harder to complete. This can be things such as walking, cooking, dressing, bathing, and even standing up when seated. Each of these activities requires muscles to complete the task, and therefore they are impacted by declining levels of muscular fitness. Resistance training can assist you in countering this decline and make it easier for you to complete the activities you enjoy.
How to improve?
This is where we as Exercise Physiologists, come in and develop a resistance-based exercise program tailored specifically for you, to help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to improve your physical performance, or ability to complete everyday activities, we will identify muscle weaknesses through testing, and then walk you step by step through the program to make sure you are getting the best results.
What to do now?
If you believe you or someone you know would benefit from a tailored resistance training program, give us a call at Gen Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All of our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.
Ikezoe, T., Yasuyoshi, A., Hazaki, K., Kuroki, H., & Morinaga, T. (2007). Muscle strength and muscle endurance required for independent walking in the elderly. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 19-22.
Rantanen, T., Avlund, K., Suominen, H., Schroll, M., Frandin, K., & Pertti, E. (2011). Muscle strength as a predictor of onset of ADL dependence in people aged 75 years. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 5-10.
Zehnacker, C. H., & Bemis-Dougherty, A. (2007). Effect of weighted exercises on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women: a systematic review. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, 3(2), 79-88.
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