By Erin McKenna RDN, CDN
Resistance or strength training is when you use a specific muscle against external resistance. Resistance training includes free-weights, body weight, or weight machines.
When you continuously do resistance training, you will build muscle and become stronger over time. Strength training has been shown to improve bone density, joint function, muscle, tendon and ligament strength. Resistance training also helps to build intramuscular coordination, which in turn can prevent injury especially as we age. Research has shown that lifting heavy weights increases the production of a hormone related to the production of brain-derived neurotropic factor, IGF-1. This neurotransmitter plays an important role in growing new neural pathways in the brain and increasing communication between existing pathways. Ultimately, lifting weights could potentially help improve cognitive function, in turn making you smarter. What’s better than that?
Lifting weights also helps to improve your confidence by giving you muscle definition and also improves your ability to lift something heavy when you need to; for example, lifting groceries or helping a friend move. Here are some examples of resistance training that you can start today!
- Free weights such as dumbbells or barbells
- Body weight exercises such as push up’s
- Weight machines
- Resistance bands
- Kettle bells
- Medicine balls
There are many apps, YouTube videos and DVDs you can use to help step you through. It is also a good idea to start with a trainer so they can teach you proper form to reduce risk of injury!
7 Benefits of Heavy Resistance Training. Acefitness.org. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5463/7-benefits-of-heavy-resistance-training. Published June 4, 2015.
Resistance training – health benefits. Better health.vic.gov.au. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits. Published Sept 16, 2016.