Strength Training for Long-term Wellness
It’s no secret that strength training is a popular pastime right now but maybe you wonder what the big deal is? You may think that if you’re not comfortable in a gym setting or don’t want to look like a bodybuilder, there is no reason to think about lifting weights. When it comes to creating a long-term plan for wellness, strength training should definitely be part of the mix.
Why build strength for long-term wellness?
- To invest in your future self. If you’re looking for an “anti-aging” program for your skeleton, look no further. Managed stress on bones in the form of resistance training builds bone tissue, resulting in stronger, denser bones. Increased bone mass helps reduce the risk of fractures. Additionally, strength training can help build balance and coordination, thereby reducing the risk of falls.
- To support mental health. Building strength is a great way to support mental health. Not only does it foster building the mind-body connection, but the work involved in strength training can also increase confidence and mental focus and help manage stress.
- To improve present quality of life. Not only is weightlifting beneficial for the future, it also supports your current quality of life.
Here are a few improvements that our strength training clients report experiencing after starting our program:
day to day activities feel much easier
bags of groceries feel lighter
pain-free yard work
hikes and walks seem more accessible
getting up and down off the ground (especially for older clients) is less daunting
higher energy throughout the day
Events that may have previously been worrisome or impossible become enjoyable
traveling becomes more fun
While there are many apps, plans and AI coaches available on the internet, there is good reason to hire a coach to help you get started on a strength plan.
Finding a coach that supports you in your goals, gives you honest feedback and helps you learn good technique can give you a great return on your investment. Just a few cues from an expert coach can transform lifting weights from an intimidating endeavor to a rewarding one that you can use for the rest of your life.
The Key elements of a good strength-training program:
- Progressive overload. Lifting weights should be hard but do-able, slowly building from week to week. The weight you lift will need to gradually get heavier in order to create change and build strength. While it is possible to get a “burn” from using little to no weight in exercising, the benefits of strength training come mostly to those who strategically challenge their limits. This is progressive overload. This doesn’t mean adding more weight constantly until you’re lifting like Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), but rather following a program that intentionally challenges the strength you already have while maintaining good technique.
- Planned de-load and rest days. A quality program will have pre-programmed rest days and deloads. A deload is a period of time (typically 1 week) where both the weight and volume significantly decreases. The purpose of a deload week is to allow any inflammation in the body to settle and allow the body – particularly the central nervous system – to take a break from progressive overload. Weekly rest days are also important for physical and mental recovery.
- A healthy view of food. To build strength, you need to eat! (particularly protein) Avoid programs that include restrictive eating plans not designed by someone trained and qualified to give nutritional advice.
- Accessible movements. One of the biggest perks to hiring a coach is that they can help you find movements that are both challenging and accessible. Your program should be adapted to your ability level and any limitations you might have. Even if you have an injury or mobility issues, a coach can help you find ways to build strength. Good programs will make each movement as individualized and effective as possible.
- Warm-ups and cool-downs. Warming up and cooling down properly are important elements of a great program as they help prevent injury and speed up the recovery process.
Local to Eugene, OR? Our MVMT program might be a good fit! We provide personalized programs and fun, asynchronous small group classes where you can utilize our gym space to follow your program with a coach present to help (and hopefully some good music in the background).
Email [email protected] for more information on getting started.
Here is an interesting article on strength training and osteoporosis.
Here is another article from us regarding eating protein.