Five Benefits of Strength Training   

Five Benefits of Strength Training

Midsection of senior woman lifting dumbbells for strength training.
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Katrina A. Dy

Strength training is for more than just serious athletes or those looking to build bigger biceps. It can be a beneficial part of anyone’s exercise regimen.

“Any person can benefit from strength training, and it may be of increased importance if you have had a back or shoulder injury or are trying to manage a chronic condition like joint pain or osteoarthritis,” says Katrina A. Dy, physical therapist at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. “Strength training is also important if you’ve had or are preparing for a hip or knee replacement surgery.” 

Our experts offer five benefits of complementing aerobic exercises with strength training.

Benefits of Strength Training

  1. Increased muscle mass. Strength training helps build muscle and makes you stronger. "You'll be able to more easily accomplish daily tasks, whether that means playing with your kids or grandkids or carrying a heavy load of groceries into the house," says Kevin O’Connor, physical therapist at Hackensack University Medical Center.
  1. Improved metabolism. Strength training helps improve your body's ability to use fat for fuel. "Muscle mass is an important factor in helping you burn more calories even when your body is at rest," says Tim Hill, PT, DPT, OCS, physical therapist at Riverview Medical Center.
  1. Improved bone health. Strength training has been linked to an increased rate of bone formation and greater bone density. This can help prevent fractures and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  1. Decreased injury risk. Strength training helps improve your sense of balance, range of motion and mobility—all of which can help reduce the risk of injury or falls.
  1. Reduced symptoms. By strengthening muscles, you can help reduce some symptoms of certain chronic illnesses, such as arthritis, back pain, diabetes and heart disease.

How to Get Started With Strength Training

Strength training is a vital part of any exercise regimen, even for the novice exerciser. "Strength training doesn't have to be complex or intimidating," Katrina says. "With proper form and technique, anyone can safely incorporate strength training into their fitness routine."

Our experts provide these tips for starting small:

  • Create an exercise plan tailored to your individual goals and abilities. Before starting any new fitness program, talk with your doctor first.
  • Start with low weights and low repetition. For example, start with 10–15 repetitions per set with 5-pound weights or just your body weight for resistance. Prioritize proper form and technique before you progress the amount of weight or resistance.
  • As you become stronger, gradually add more weight or repetitions—all while maintaining proper form and technique.
  • Take a break between strength training sessions. Specifically, take at least one day between sessions to help your muscles rest and recover.
  • Focus on different muscle groups. Use a variety of strength exercises to target different muscle groups on different days—leg day, arms day, core day, etc.
  • You don't need a gym if one isn't available. Strength training exercises that use your body weight, resistance bands or items around the house can be done at home.
  • Listen to your body. If an exercise causes you pain, stop. Either try a lower weight or rest for a day or two before starting again. 

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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