Why men and women of all ages need to do resistance training

Why men and women have to do resistance training

Resistance training uses a person’s bodyweight, or some type of external resistance (such as dumbbells or barbells) to increase the strength of the muscles. Examples of resistance training include lifting weights at the gym or doing bodyweight exercises such as squats and push-ups at home. Many common fitness classes such as CrossFit and F45 will include several elements of resistance training in them.

There is a huge range of benefits associated with resistance training, and it’s important for every fitness plan to have at least some focus on it. 

Myths about resistance training

Sometimes people shy away from resistance training as a result of common misconceptions. Here are the main ones:

1. Bulking up

Women may be concerned about resistance training due to the fear of ‘bulking up’ and getting ‘big muscles’. The truth is that building muscle through resistance training can significantly aid with fat loss and achieving a lean physique!

Muscle is a dense tissue that is very ‘metabolically hungry’. This means that it like to burn calories. The more you have of it, the more easily you will burn fat, even at rest. There is often a concern from women that they will end up looking like a female bodybuilder if they lift heavy weights in the gym. In reality, female bodybuilders do very long, hard, specialized training sessions and also follow a strict muscle building nutrition plan. 

It’s harder for women to build muscle than it is for men, because women generally have much lower testosterone levels. Don’t avoid lifting heavy weights for fear of bulking up – you might be missing out on the very results you’re looking for!

2. You have to be strong to do it

Resistance training will help you get stronger but you certainly don’t have to be strong to start doing it! There are appropriate weight sizes for every strength level, and progressions and regressions for every exercise. Don’t feel intimidated by big weights being thrown around. Everyone starts somewhere and a qualified personal trainer can help you select the right exercises and weights for you.

The increased importance of resistance training as we age

There is often an abundance of young people at the gym and it’s common for older individuals to opt for alternative fitness activities. The reality is that it’s even more important for people to do regular resistance training as they get older!

Resistance training helps to make activities of daily living easier. This includes the likes of getting lids off jars more easily, and being capable of getting out of the bath by yourself when you’re 90! There is a natural decline in muscle mass as we age, which starts as early as our thirties. Resistance training helps to minimize the impact and effect of this.

Another important reason to continue resistance training as we age is related to the bone-building effects of it. Bones get stronger through regular loading. For deconditioned older individuals, the high impact activities that aid bone growth (e.g. running and jumping) may be too stressful for the body.  Resistance training is something that can be highly personalized and started at any age for great results.

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