The importance of strength training
Strength training is important for your long-term health and wellness. It ensures you have a functioning body that can do what you need it to, without risk of injury or fatigue.
All movement has benefits for health and wellness, but strength training comes with added benefits including the following:
Increased muscle mass and reduction in the speed of muscle loss as we age
Increased bone strength
Better stability and balance
Ease of completing every day activities
Lowered blood pressure
Research has indicated that a day spent seated cannot be undone by a single workout and even worse, people with low grip strength or low fitness levels face twice the risk when engaged in long periods of sedentary activities ( watching TV, etc). The good news is, it is believed that increasing strength and fitness may offset the adverse health consequences of spending a large proportion of leisure time sitting down and watching a screen.
But strength training is not just about lifting weights, (although that is an excellent option). A great example of integrating exercise to strengthen the cardiovascular system in conjunction with strength training is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). HIIT involves alternating between higher intensity bursts of exercise, with time to rest in between activities, and this high intensity exercise often includes strength training exercises.
The benefits of this type of strength training have not just been proven for those who remain active and injury-free; there is increasing understanding that exercise, including strength training, can benefit a range of specific health conditions, especially those that are prevalent in older adults such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and others illnesses and diseases.
Traditionally older adults have been recommended to do light aerobic work to improve heart health and balance to decrease the chance of falls. While these two components are still regarded as important, there is also a benefit in participating in strength training which involves using resistance while exercising. This can be exercises with weights, but there are plenty of other options too.
So no matter what your age is, it's not too late start incorporating strength training into your fitness regime to get the benefits.