Resistance training improves one’s strength, muscle tone, muscle mass, and endurance. It’s also been found to reverse the deteriorative effects aging can have on the body.
Resistance training can be defined as a type of exercise wherein the muscles contract to withstand the reactive force, or resistance, whenever one shoulders weights or pushes surfaces, aimed at attaining increased strength, muscle tone, mass, endurance, or any combination of the four. This resistance can be found when carrying just about any object with significant weight, such as dumbbells, barbells, or medicine balls.
There are many ways to train the muscles’ resistance, namely Olympic lifting, where one is to lift the weights overhead, powerlifting, which encapsulates three exercises in the squat, deadlift, and bench press, and weightlifting, where significantly heavier weights are lifted with fewer reps. No matter which of the three you prefer in your exercise regimen, as long as you’re lifting weights, your exercise counts toward resistance training. Some might say that because it involves lifting weights, it is similar to strength training, but these claims are generally false. The latter can be more aptly described as as a type of resistance training that is geared towards improving one’s strength. Resistance training is more general by definition, as it encapsulates many other fitness elements apart from strength.
With the definitions aside, though, what is it about resistance training that makes it such an appealing exercise option?
For one, it can slow the deteriorative effects that aging can usually bring upon one’s body. Resistance training improves one’s muscle strength and tone, which is important, especially because those in their 30s were found to lose five pounds’ worth of muscle every ten years. Starting in the same age, we start to lose those type 2 muscle fibers in our bodies, which are the type of muscle fibers that define our muscle strength. Individuals can lose more than one-fourth of these fibers from ages 30 to 70, if left unchecked. Simply put, resistance training both slows and reverses the effects of aging on the body.
This type of exercise is also a great boon for anyone looking to improve their health as they grow older. For one, there is some proof that resistance exercise can improve one’s blood pressure. Resistance training also improves one’s metabolic rate, which is important in keeping a healthy body weight. Building strength also makes it less likely for one to fall over due to muscle weakness. Furthermore, it’s also been shown to build and strengthen bone. There are many common bone diseases that can leave the elderly crippled, and this is a great boon to them as resistance training has also been found to have the same effect on the elderly, which means there’s never really too late a time to get started on working toward fitness.
There are many options available in the gym if you’re looking to try out resistance training; any of the machines, such as the leg press or chest press, or free weights like dumbbells and medicine balls can definitely fit the bill. It will take some time as you figure out which ones work best for you, so try out what you can, and see what works.