What is resistance training?
Resistance training (aka strength training) is an exercise that applies tension to muscles through the use of free weights, machine weights, resistance bands, or body weight – to induce muscular contraction. Resistance training leads to increased strength, and muscle endurance (anaerobic endurance), improves bone density and promotes positive impacts on body composition (muscle to fat ratio).
What happens during resistance training?
When we lift weights, the muscles are put under more tension – this causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibres (this is a GOOD thing!). These tears are then repaired by protein in the body, and by doing so, increase the overall strength and stamina of these muscles. Over time, improvements in muscular strength, endurance, joint health, and bone strength are all likely outcomes.
Why is resistance training important as we age?
As we get older, muscle mass decreases at a more rapid rate – therefore it is of increasing importance to continue resistance training to maintain strength, healthy joints, mobility, and bone density. Long-term benefits can be seen in as little as two resistance training sessions per week!
Aren’t I going to get bulky if I start lifting weights?
A common misconception and fear of a lot of women, in particular, is that they will get ‘bulky’ or ‘big’ from lifting weights. However, women are physically unable to build the same type of muscle as men do, due to the differences in hormonal composition between men and women.
Men have much higher levels of testosterone (the male sex hormone) circulating around their bodies than women do. Men use testosterone to aid in the repair and building processes of muscular tissue, which leads to much larger ‘bulky’ muscles. Women, however, do not possess the capacity to do this. It is for this reason that men are (majority of the time) much stronger and larger than women.
Women who perform resistance training build lean muscle, giving a ‘toned’ appearance, as well as achieving strength and bone density benefits as mentioned above.
Top Tip Takeaways
- Increases bone density
This means bones remain stronger and healthier for longer – and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases.
- Increases strength
By maintaining your strength, you are able to remain independent and continue to enjoy day-to-day leisure activities such as gardening, outdoor walks, tennis, and so on!
- This leads to a toned appearance
As mentioned, women will not get ‘bulky’ from resistance training, but lifting weights will build healthily toned-looking muscle, reducing the appearance of sagging areas such as the upper arms.
- Improves the efficiency of metabolism
Muscle uses more energy at rest than fat – therefore the more muscle you have, the higher your ‘resting (basal) metabolic rate (the energy you burn at rest), which may also aid in fat loss.
If you have any further questions regarding resistance training, please let us know!
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