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Five reasons why you need to start strength training.



Strength training is becoming increasingly popular. However, for women in particular, there still remains a stigma around lifting weights. It is surprising just how many people are worried they might turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger after one upper body session. As a matter of fact, strength training won't turn you into Arnie, instead you'll boost both your mental and physical health in the long-term.



Here's five reasons why you need to start training, no matter how old you are:


  1. Resistance training promotes bone development, with some studies showing increases in bone mineral density by 1-3% (1). This is of the utmost importance to post-menopausal women who, with the rapid decline in oestrogen levels, are at an increasing risk of developing osteoporosis. So, as we get older, resistance training becomes even more important!

  2. Studies show that it reduces anxiety. Furthermore, studies into the effect of resistance training on clinically diagnosed depressed adults have all agreed that symptoms are significantly when a strength training programme is pursued (2).

  3. Reduces the risk of dementia. Strength training leads to huge benefits for our cognitive performance with the result of this being to protect the brain from degeneration as we age. More importantly, areas of the brain benefitting from strength training are those most vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease (3).

  4. It can reduce lower back pain. If our lumbar muscles (lower back) are weak your body will start to rely on other structures for core stability, including your discs, which is what often causes pain (4). Hence, strengthening your core (which includes your lower back region), will help to reduce discomfort here.

  5. It makes you feel bad ass. Trust me, it does. And studies show that it's proven to improve self-esteem (2).


References


(1) Westcott, W.L., 2012. Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Current sports medicine reports, 11(4), pp.209-216. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2012/07000/Resistance_Training_is_Medicine___Effects_of.13.aspx [Accessed 23rd June 2021].


(2) Ramirez, A. and Kravitz, L., 2012. Resistance training improves mental health. IDEA Fitness Journal, 9(1), pp.20-22. Available at: https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/RTandMentalHealth.html [Accessed 23rd June 2021].


(3) Reiner, V., 2020. Strength training can help protect the brain from degeneration [online]. The University of Sydney. Available at:

https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/02/11/strength-training-can-help-protect-the-brain-from-degeneration.html#:~:text=The%20long%2Dterm%20study%20found,role%20in%20learning%20and%20memory. [Accessed 23rd June 2021].


(4) Mariano Kopasakis, P., 2020.


[online]. Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/strong-core-best-guard-back-pain/ [Accessed 23rd June 2021].


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