Why You Should Consider Incorporating Strength Training into Your Exercise Routine

By Jacquelyn Buffo, MS, LPC, CAADC

March 11, 2022

Senior Weight Bearing

You may already have a good understanding of the benefits of exercise on your mental and physical health. Studies continuously show the positive impact that exercise has on improving your self-esteem and reducing anxiety and depression. Exercise has been shown to improve your brain health, reduce your risk for various diseases, improve your ability to engage in day-to-day activities, manage weight, and strengthen your muscles and bones. To maximize the benefits of physical exercise, it is vital to incorporate strength training.

Ask the Experts

Let’s take a closer look at the proven benefits of exercise. An obvious benefit of exercise is weight management. Some less obvious benefits of exercise include:

  • Better sleep
  • Manage blood pressure
  • Improved cognitive function, including attention and efficiency
  • Reduced risk of injuries and falls
  • Increased strength
  • Reduced fatigue and improved energy
  • Reduced feelings of depression and improve overall mood

Inactivity can have a detrimental impact on our health, especially as we age. As you age, you lose bone density, are at an increased risk of falling, and have an increased risk of bone fractures. Regular activity, and in particular strength training, can help reduce these risks.

Ways to Exercise

A healthy exercise routine consists of various types of physical activity. Engaging in just one type of physical activity isn’t enough to receive the full benefits that physical exercise has to offer. You should incorporate four distinct types of exercises into your fitness routine.

The four types of exercise include:

  1. Endurance: Walking, jogging, dancing, yard work, swimming, soccer, tennis, basketball
  2. Strength: Lifting weights, using resistance bands, carrying groceries, carrying a baby, lifting your body weight
  3. Balance: Standing on one foot, walking a balance beam, Tai Chi, the balance walk
  4. Flexibility: Stretching the various muscle groups in your body (arms, legs, back)

While each type of exercise provides health benefits, let us take a closer look at the benefits of strength training.

Benefits of Strength Training

As you age, you lose muscle mass and bone density. Inactive adults lose 3% to 8% of their muscle mass every 10 years. Studies show that strength training functions as medicine for your body as you age, and it has many benefits for your health.

Studies show that benefits of strength training include:

  • An increase in lean body weight
  • Increased metabolism when at rest
  • Increased walking speed
  • Improvement in your ability to control your body movement
  • Strengthened self-esteem
  • Improved cognitive abilities and performance
  • Increased functional independence
  • Reduction in resting blood pressure
  • Prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Improved bone development
  • Reduction in lower back pain
  • Reverse signs of aging in skeletal muscles
  • Reduction in pain associated with fibromyalgia and arthritis

How to Incorporate Strength Training into Your Exercise Routine

Strength training doesn’t mean being overly muscled and maxing out on dumbbells. Incorporating strength training can be done simply and effectively. It can also be incorporated effortlessly into your exercise regime, even if you don’t have a bench press or heavy weights.

These strategies can help get you started:

  1. Use the power of the internet: YouTube is a phenomenal resource, and it has a lot of fitness-related content available to you. You can find many free strength-training videos on there, and they range in length and level. Start small with a 10-20 minute beginner video and work your way up from there.
  2. Use your body weight: If you don’t have weights at home, you can use your body weight to build strength and muscle.
  3. Get creative: Water bottles, cans of soup, and other household items can be used as weights and as a form of resistance. Resistance bands are also an affordable option to incorporate resistance. They are easily transportable and store away nicely. They can be used in many strength-based exercises that target the major muscles in your body.
  4. Focus on form, not weight: Fitness experts agree that form is the most important component in effective strength building, not the amount of weight or resistance you use.
  5. Don’t forget nutrition: Making sure you get adequate protein, calories, fluids, vitamins/minerals, and carbohydrates is key to maximizing your strength training efforts and your overall health. ScriptSave® WellRx offers a free food finder to assist you in identifying healthy foods that are in alignment with your fitness and nutrition goals.

Moving Forward

Incorporating strength training into a new or already established exercise routine has many benefits. Strength training is a critical part of a healthy, active lifestyle and becomes especially important as you age. Utilized in conjunction with other healthy habits, such as taking your medication regularly, drinking plenty of water, and getting adequate rest, can help maximize your health and overall quality of life. If you are struggling to afford your prescription medication, ScriptSave WellRx is a free app that can help you save up to 80%*.

*DISCOUNT ONLY – NOT INSURANCE. The program is administered by Medical Security Card Company, LLC

Jacquelyn Buffo is a licensed professional counselor with experience and expertise in substance abuse and mental health issues. She received her MS in mental health counseling from Capella University and is a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor through the state of Michigan. She is also in the process of receiving her certification in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Jacquelyn has experience working with clients suffering from addiction and mental health issues on an in-home, residential, and outpatient basis. Currently, she works with adolescents and adults with Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder through Henry Ford Health System.

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