You may have noticed that resistance training has become increasingly popular in the last few decades. A significant contributor to this rise in popularity is due to the effect of resistance training on bone density. However, not only is resistance training fantastic for improving density, it has a multitude of other health and fitness benefits.
So what is resistance training?
Resistance training simply involves exercise against resistance! This can be resistance provided by your body weight, for example a push up or squat; or resistance through external means, such as weights or spring loaded pilates equipment like the reformer or trapeze.
Why do I need resistance training?
We start to lose muscle strength by a rate of 1-5% per year, every year, once we hit 30. That said, it is possible to stop this break down if you provide the muscles with enough stimulus to stay strong. This is where the saying “move it or lose it” comes to life – your muscles will only maintain strength, or become stronger, in response to stimulation. Without this, they will progressively lose their strength and size. The best way to create this stimulation is through targeted resistance training.
Furthermore, it has been found that power – which is the ability to move quickly – reduces by 3-5% each year once we hit 60. Power is a large determinant of whether you can react to an unexpected force and stop yourself falling over. For example, if you are at the dog park and a dog suddenly runs straight for you, you need the speed as well as the strength to step quickly out of the way, or to catch yourself if you start to feel off balance.
Resistance training to improve chronic pain
Aside from improving your strength, power, and bone density, resistance training has also been proven to be very effective in the management of musculoskeletal injuries. There has been research that shows resistance training can have a positive effect on shoulder pain; chronic low back pain, neck pain, and arthritic hip and knees. Frequently pain is caused by a lack of muscular strength and endurance that only worsens once pain has become chronic.
Resistance Training and Physiotherapy
Unfortunately, if resistance training is not done correctly, there is a risk of developing injuries or exacerbating existing medical conditions. Physiotherapists are well equipped to prescribe you an appropriate program, as well as monitor it to ensure you are completing the exercises properly. A thorough assessment by your physiotherapist will ensure that you are doing appropriate exercises based on your medical history and current fitness levels. Our clinic has a range of physiotherapist supervised exercise classes to ensure you can keep active and injury free!