Strength training, also known as resistance training, is simply repeated muscle movements against resistance that require greater force than you typically use in daily activities. The objective is to increase muscle strength, but in doing so, strength training also fights disease, improves overall functional ability and offers psychological benefits. The significant health improvements from this type of exercise, combined with the fact that they require a mere 30 minutes of exercise per week to take hold, make strength training an endeavor well worth your time.
The Centers for Disease Control and American Heart Association endorse strength training because it is such an effective weapon against disease. In addition to toning your body, strength training can improve your resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, insulin resistance and gastrointestinal transit time. Resistance training can improve stamina, help you get more energy, and even help to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Functional abilities are those that allow you to conduct your day-to-day activities without getting hurt. Examples include maintaining balance to avoid injuries from falls or lifting and bending without straining muscles. Resistance training provides the full-body workout necessary to maintain and improve your functional fitness.
Additionally, strength training helps you stay active. Improving your core strength reduces lower back pain by properly supporting your spine. It prevents osteoporosis (loss of bone density and strength), as well as sarcopenia (age related muscle loss), and alleviates chronic pain, such as from fibromyalgia. As you get stronger, your body functions improve, protecting you from injury and disability. The less often you get injured, the more active you can remain to maintain a better quality of life.
The benefits of resistance training extend beyond merely the physical. Clinical studies have linked resistance training to improved sleep, reduced depression and even better cognitive abilities. This type of exercise also ameliorates anxiety. In addition, regularly engaging in resistance training boosts self-esteem and overall energy level. Simply put, regular strength training is likely to make you both happier and more productive.
Perhaps the best news about resistance training is that it doesn’t require a large time commitment to result in significant health benefits. Short workouts and simple exercises, done for about 15-20 minutes, two times per week, produces presentable benefits. Rest days between workouts are a must as they allow your muscles to recover.
Exercise intensity should be relatively high, with fewer reps, rather than moderate with more reps. The speed of each movement should be slow enough so that momentum doesn’t do the work for you: Depending on the move being performed, anything faster than eight seconds per rep may not derive as much benefit.
The Activ5 portable fitness device and mobile app makes working out fun and conveniently portable. You can engage in strength training with easy workouts using isometric exercises anywhere. For example, you can exercise on an airplane, or do a hotel workout on your next business trip or vacation. The Activ5 has over 100 isometric strength training workouts. Further, it automatically customizes them to your fitness level, bringing you closer to achieving your fitness goals.
Strength training doesn’t need a gym full of large equipment: You can increase your strength at home, on the road or even at the office. Workouts don’t have to fill your calendar with long sessions that you end up skipping. Instead, you can use the Activ5 anywhere, anytime and gain the full health benefits of strength training.