Most of the musculoskeletal (e.g., muscle and joint pain) issues I see as a chiropractor are addressable through exercise. For those who are sedentary, it comes as no surprise that you may have persistent pain. This is because without regular exercise our muscles and joints don’t get the stimulation it needs to remain healthy.
For those who are already physically active, did you know that just cardio exercise alone is not enough for peak physical health? Current physical activity guidelines across the world recommends that you perform at least two days of muscle strengthening exercises per week. This number increases to thrice per week if you are above 65!
Today, we are going to sharing with you the benefits of strength training. The information in today’s article is from the paper published last year titled Working Toward Optimal Exercise Prescription: Strength Training Should Not Be Overlooked.
Cardiovascular Benefits of Strength Training
There is a misconception that strength training is only useful for building muscles. Most ladies and older adults shy away from it because they don’t see having bigger muscles as aesthetically pleasing or physically necessary. While that may be true, you indeed do not need to have big muscles, having strength is important for basic health.
It surprises a lot of people but strength training is also good for your heart.
Muscle strengthening exercises can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as coronary heart disease and stroke. In fact, strength training has also been documented to help with hypertension (aka high blood pressure)!
According to a study published earlier this year, the best results are seen in patients who participate in weight training at least twice a week for a minimum of eight weeks. The weight would also have to be on the heavier side (at least more than 60% of your one-repetition maximum). This routine alone was enough to improve both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Weight Training Improves Musculoskeletal Health
Your muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, etc all need to be put under load. With muscle training exercises, you literally make them stronger. This has a protective effect on your skeletal system.
Weight training also help with preserving bone mineral density. This is particularly important with women as it helps to reduce risk of osteoporosis.
Studies have been conducted to show that lifting heavy weight is safe for older women. In fact, lifting heavy weights is one of the best conservative treatment for ladies with osteoporosis.
Our body is indeed wonderfully made. A lot of you may think that you are too old or too weak to exercise. This is not true. With the right guidance, you can exercise yourself to peak physical performance.
Reduce your risk of injury
Stretching by far is the most popular approach to reducing risk of injury. You often hear many people talk about stretching as an important part of their pre-exercise and post-exercise routine. When asked why, they often feedback that they do it to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that stretching or having more flexibility is actually make us healthier. While it does help with reducing risk of injury, it is very poor at it.
According to recent research, strength and conditioning is most helpful at preventing injuries. Participating in strength and conditioning can reduce your chance of getting injured by up to 69%! Comparatively, stretching only helps by a meagre 4%.
Yes, I know it’s hard to appreciate this. We often think of weight training as dangerous and bad for our joints. However, this is 100% untrue. There are tons of research to show that weight training is safe when done correctly and also helpful at protecting our joints!
Accessibility to equipment to make us stronger
It is true that access to a gym will make strength training a lot easier. Equipment at the gym that can help with building muscle strength can range from machines to free weights such as dumbbells or barbells.
If you do not have access to a gym or find it costly, there may be a fitness corner in your neighbourhood that could be helpful. Exercises that help include push ups, pull ups or incline pull ups. Some fitness corners even have wood or metal logs of different weight that you can use for shoulder press.
Do note that not all body weight exercises will help you with build strength. If you are already fairly fit and healthy, performing body weight squats or push ups may not count as strength training. To make the exercises more challenging for you, you can use household items such detergent bottles or even rice bags for your exercises!
How to start strengthening your muscles?
You don’t need expensive equipment or gym membership to start building strength. Your neighbourhood fitness corner or even household items can be enough to get started! If you are unfamiliar with exercising or are struggling with persistent pain, working with a professional may be a better first step. At Square One Active Recovery, we offer both personal training as well as pain/injury rehabilitation to cater to people from different walks of life.
Reach out via the form below if you are interested in our services. For more evidence-based resources to help yourself achieve peak health and well-being, you can our Facebook group here.
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Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.
Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.