NZ Register of Exercise Professionals media release: 18th December 2018
It can be tempting to think the days of pure strength and resistance training in a traditional gym environment are losing popularity with the rise in popularity of more movement and mindfulness based exercise options.
Resistance training is still an important part of maintaining health, with proven benefits and results and new benefits recently discovered. Resistance training has always been known to have a range of benefits, from younger people looking for strength gains, through to seniors looking for balance and independence. The benefits have generally been shown alongside other activities that get your heart rate up for an extended period.
However as little as an hour a week of lifting weights results in a 40 to 70 percent reduction in heart attack or stroke risk independent of other exercise - according to recent research reported out of Iowa State University.
Of course, exercise should not be about doing the minimum amount of work required to receive results. Many of the values of movement are about the experience while doing it, including the social benefits of being with others, and the mood enhancing benefits of being active.
Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke are the leading cause of death in developed countries, so anything that can contribute to a decrease in mortality is worth paying attention to. The less time required for results makes achieving the level required more realistic for those who are time poor or lack motivation.
Weight training can be done anywhere that resistance is available, but using an exercise facility or studio offers a variety and range of equipment not found elsewhere. Having a dedicated place to go also allows a more structured routine which can help with adherence.
So add reducing the risk of heart disease to your reasons for lifting weights, along with the ones we already know:
- Regular strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Strength training can assist with weight management as it can increase your metabolism which will help you burn more calories.
- Strength training makes your life easier by improving your ability to do a range of everyday activities.
- Balance is improved with stronger muscles which can reduce risk of falls. This is especially important for older adults who risk losing independence with lack of strength and balance.
- Many ongoing physical health conditions can be managed better and reduced by regular strength training.
It is important to make sure you get your advice from a REPs registered exercise professional before you start exercising using weights. They can give you appropriate exercises that suit your needs and level.