Updated: Apr 8, 2020
So, what does resistance training entail? How can it be incorporated into your existing workout routine? Or how can you begin, if you aren’t currently working out? Well, the good news is, you may already be resistance training! Anything that adds additional weight or resistance (hence the name!) that is more than what you encounter in your daily life is considered resistance training. If you are using free weights or a barbell, resistance bands or stability balls, you’ve already begin resistance training! There is a whole host of ways that you can resistance train. If barbells aren’t your thing, use kettlebells; if kettlebells aren’t your thing, use the machines at your gym; if machines aren’t your thing, use resistance bands – I think you get the idea! And it’s great to mix it up as well. Don’t do the same thing every single day – find several strategies that you enjoy using and then employ those in various ways throughout the week/month as you exercise.
Now that you have a general idea of what resistance training looks like, let me give you a couple great benefits of incorporating it into your routine on a daily basis:
1. Increased Bone Density
Studies have shown that aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, and swimming are beneficial for many of your bodies functional systems, however, they have a minimal effect on increasing the density of your bones. But why is bone density important? Here’s an example for you – think of a rope. If you start with something small, like the size of a piece of twine, you aren’t going to be able to hold much with that piece without it breaking. But, as soon as you start adding strands to that single piece of twine, it becomes stronger and stronger. The same principle applies to your bones. The more you exercise using resistance training, the more dense your bones will become and the less likely they will be to fracture or break.
2. Increased Skeletal Muscle Strength
Your bones are connected to muscles which are what give you the ability to move. However, when this connection is weak, it can lead to a lack of balance, coordination and stability. In turn, you are more susceptible to falls, which can cause breaks, especially in fall-vulnerable areas like your wrists, hips and back. It’s a vicious cycle! So, the stronger you can make your musculoskeletal connection, the better balance you will have and the less likely it is that you will fall.
There are so many factors that can contribute to brittle bones as we get older – genetics, diet, daily habits, exercise…the list could go on and on. But as science studies the effects of resistance training on bone density, in both men and women, overall it has shown to have some of the greatest benefits, even over dietary and supplementary changes.
Another bit of good news here is that it doesn’t matter when you start, it will always help! Even if you’ve never worked out in your younger years and you’re in your 40’s or 50’s now, if you start resistance training, you’ll still see improvement in your bone density, balance and coordination. Find a good trainer that can meet you where you are at and help you achieve your goals step by step. It’s never too late to begin!