MoveWell Health and Fitness


Top 12 Benefits of Resistance Training for Adults

Loss of muscle mass, bone density, and joint flexibility are all things to be concerned about as we become older. The ageing process becomes a freefall with severe and irreversible repercussions when we become increasingly inactive while overeating with a lack of physical activity and mental stimulation. However, with the help of resistance exercises and stretching, it can help you feel healthier and stronger than before. 

In this article, we will be going over the top 12 benefits of resistance training for adults to help motivate them to get in shape and live a much more active lifestyle.

What is resistance training?

Resistance training is also known as strength, weight, and muscular training. Any physical exercise in which you utilise your body weight or equipment to improve muscular mass, strength and or endurance is considered strength training. Resistance training is founded on the premise that the body’s muscles will exert effort to overcome a resistance force when necessary. Your muscles develop stronger with repeated and consistent resistance training.

The most common aspects of resistance training consist of:

  • Maximum muscular strength

This type of exercise involves a modest number of repetitions (2–6) and large weights to increase overall strength and create a more resilient body (reduced risk of injury). Typically, strength training incorporates the 4 main movement patterns. Hip hinge, squat, upper body push and pull. Science now tells us we all should incorporate a strength training phase into our workout routine. 

  • Muscular endurance

This relates to the endurance of your muscles during activity. Increasing muscular endurance typically includes performing high reps with small weights or callisthenic exercises. Having muscular endurance will assist in improving your longer endurance type activities such as walking, hiking, cycling or cross-country skiing.

  • Explosive force

This workout combines strength and quickness to increase your power output. It is typically utilised by trained sportsmen to enhance their capacity to perform explosive actions.

  • Hypertrophy of muscle mass

This type of strength training, often known as muscle or body building, employs moderate-to-heavy weights and higher repetitions than strength training to induce muscular growth. This type of training doesn’t exclusively mean it’s for people who want huge muscles. Building muscle, is a proven way of helping to improve our body composition and is an effective way of burning calories.

Everyone must understand that resistance training is not limited to bodybuilders lifting weights in a gym. Regular strength or resistance training is appropriate for individuals of all ages and fitness levels in order to avoid the age-related loss of lean muscle mass (the medical term for this loss is sarcopenia). Those with chronic health concerns, such as obesity, arthritis, or heart disease, can also benefit.

Before getting started

Before you commit to a gym membership or hire a trainer, consult your physician if you have a chronic ailment or if you’re over 40 and haven’t been active recently.

Consider warming up with five to ten minutes of vigorous walking or another aerobic activity before beginning weight training. Cold muscles are more susceptible to damage than heated ones. Choose a weight or level of resistance that will exhaust your muscles after 12 to 15 repetitions. When you can perform additional repetitions of a particular exercise with relative ease, gradually increase the weight or resistance.

According to research, a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions with the appropriate weight can effectively grow muscle in the majority of individuals. It can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise. As long as you tire the muscle you are training, meaning you cannot perform another repetition, you are performing the essential work to strengthen the muscle. Fatigue at a higher number of repetitions indicates that you are likely utilising lighter weight, making it simpler to control and maintain proper form.

Resistance training exercises deliver a load/overload to a specific muscle or muscle group and force the muscles to adapt and develop stronger by using external resistance in the form of free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, and callisthenics.

Rest for a full day between working out each individual muscle group to allow your muscles to recuperate. Also, pay close attention to your body’s signals. Stop exercising if a strength-training exercise causes pain or discomfort. Consider attempting a lighter weight or attempting again after a few days.

In order to avoid injuries during resistance training, it is essential to employ the appropriate techniques. You may put yourself at risk for an exercise-induced injury if you exert too much effort. Work with a trainer or other fitness expert to learn the proper form and technique for strength training if you are new to the activity. Remember to have the proper breathing while lifting weights.

Safety should be your number one priority

Safety should always be the main priority, regardless of your age. However, people of older age must be required to take extra caution. Many senior trainees who have committed to resistance training may have minimal training experience. Those previously trained may be tempted to exceed what their bodies can adequately manage. You must proceed with caution through safe and progressive strength training.

Benefits of strength training for older adults

Strength training is beneficial for more than just your muscles. It has numerous positive effects on the entire body, including increased heart health and balance, stronger bones, weight loss, and enhanced mental wellness. Strengthening exercises benefit adults nearing their golden years because they help increase muscle strength and muscle mass while maintaining or improving bone density. 

Helps you rebuild muscle
The first benefit is self-explanatory: strength training helps to develop your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Even a relatively modest resistance training programme (20 to 40 minutes each session, two or three days a week) has been shown in studies to regenerate muscle tissue in persons aged 50 to 90. By forcing your muscles to work against resistance, they start to rebuild and increase strength, which can help with everything from walking up and down a flight of stairs to carrying multiple bags of groceries into your home or car.

Reduces body fat
Strength training burns calories like all forms of exercise, but the critical metabolic benefit is that it helps boost your metabolic rate by increasing lean muscle mass. Even if their eating habits remain consistent, most people gain fat as they age. Since muscle mass is the key determinant of metabolic rate, gaining muscle helps you burn more calories each day, even when you are resting. Research indicates that weekly strength training regimens are just as beneficial, if not more so than long-duration cardio exercise routines for reducing waist circumference and body fat percentage.

Increases bone density
Muscle loss and bone density loss tend to go hand in hand, however, strength training increases both muscle mass and bone density. Improving your bone density is essential for fracture prevention, especially as you age. Strength training stresses the bones, causing them to deposit a denser, more mineralised bone matrix. In addition, when more substantial muscles contract, they exert more significant stress on the bones, signalling the body to deposit more minerals, strengthen the structure of the bones, and form new bone cells. After several months of consistent resistance exercise, significant improvements in bone mineral density were observed.

Recharges your metabolism
Strength training burns calories like every form of exercise, but the primary metabolic benefit is that it increases your metabolic rate by increasing lean muscle mass. Resistance training has a dual effect on a person’s metabolic rate since it boosts energy expenditure during both the exercise session and the healing and rebuilding phase of muscle tissue, which can last up to three days after each workout. As your body recovers from your workout and returns to a state of rest, it will continue to burn additional calories as a result of your exercise. The longer it takes for your body to recover to its resting state, and the more calories you will burn, the more intense your activity.

Enhances Neuromuscular control
Strength training may improve brain health and guard against age-related cognitive decline in individuals. Some of the most prominent early benefits in muscular strength after beginning a strength training programme are really attributable to improvements in neural impulses between the brain and muscles. Scientists believe that just three sessions of resistance training each week can lessen the risk of neuroinflammatory diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, strength training helps minimise the symptoms (PDF) of mental diseases such as dementia.

Strength training helps the brain and muscles coordinate their activities so that a more significant number of muscle fibres are recruited in response to a brain input. They contract in a more coordinated manner, resulting in more powerful contractions. This can lead to overall improvements in coordination and muscular control, regardless of whether the task at hand involves fine motor abilities or larger motor patterns. 

Assists getting a better night’s sleep
When researchers observed senior citizens aged 65 to 80 years, a simple session of resistance training at 60 per cent of one repetition maximum improved sleep patterns and helped in reducing sleep disturbances and increasing the depth of sleep.

Boosts your energy and mental health
In a study of depressed persons over the age of 60, the majority of those allocated to a higher-intensity resistance exercise reported an improvement of up to 50 per cent in their initial symptoms. Just like many other forms of exercise, strength training increases your endorphin levels, improving your mood and boosting your energy levels. Although mental health is difficult to define, this is not the only study to find a link between strength training and enhanced mental health, even more so than other forms of exercise generally associated with mood, such as high-intensity interval training.

Strength training can also provide a significant confidence boost. It helps you overcome obstacles, work towards a goal, and appreciate the strength of your body. Specifically, it can increase your self-efficacy (the feeling that you are capable of achieving success or completing a task) which can significantly boost your confidence.

Improves your blood pressure
Hypertension is a key cardiovascular disease risk factor. Numerous studies have demonstrated that two additional months of conventional or circuit-style strength training significantly reduces resting blood pressure. Studies have also indicated that strength training workout programmes can enhance a variety of health indicators. Resistance training regimens, for instance, have been demonstrated to enhance blood sugar control and lower triglycerides and cholesterol.

Helps you overcome diabetes
A meta-analysis/review of 10 clinical trials found that high-intensity resistance training improved glucose control and muscle strength in older adults with type 2 diabetes (mean age: 66 years). Resistance training significantly decreased HbA1c (0.50%), resulting in a 38% gain in muscle strength.

“…Decreased muscle mass impairs glycaemic management because skeletal muscle plays a crucial role in glucose clearance from blood arteries and storage. Moreover, muscular strength and muscle mass diminish with age, therefore, it is crucial for diabetic patients, particularly diabetic seniors, to raise their muscular strength and muscle mass through [resistance training], particularly high-intensity training”, the researchers concluded.

Assists you with combating Cancer
Studies have shown that strength training can also alleviate the symptoms of a variety of chronic diseases, including neuromuscular disorders, HIV, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. Adult cancer patients tolerate resistance training well. It provides numerous health and fitness benefits during and after therapy, including reduced fatigue, increased muscle strength, enhanced body composition, and improved physical function.

Enhancing postcoronary performance 
Resistance exercise has proven to be effective for achieving and maintaining healthy body weight, increasing muscle mass and strength, enhancing physical performance, accelerating recovery from cardiovascular events, and enhancing self-efficacy in older adults with cardiovascular health issues.

Reduces physical distress
While many people with lower back pain can benefit from strengthening their lower-back muscles, resistance training has also benefited persons with arthritis and fibromyalgia.
We know that a controlled strength training routine can reduce the need for specific back surgeries in many cases where the effected symptoms of the pain have not been caused by a specific trauma such as a heavy fall or car accident. We are not saying that strength training can stop surgery full stop, however we do believe strength training can minimise the need for surgery in most cases. It is recommended you seek 2 or 3 opinions before committing to any form of corrective joint or skeletal surgery. 

Take it slow and steady
While some muscle soreness is common a day or two after a strength-training activity (also known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS), you should not be in severe discomfort or unable to do daily tasks.

It is a frequent misconception that you must be sore after all exercise to see benefits. However, muscle pain is not associated with developing strength and muscle hypertrophy.

Finally, provide sufficient time for recovery and growth of your muscles. Most individuals gain from two to three strength-training sessions each week. Recovery can and should include all or some of the below:
  • Maintaining adequate hydration 7+ glasses of water per day
  • Maintain adequate nutrition making sure to get enough carbs and protein
  • Get adequate sleep 7+ hours per night
  • Reduce alcohol on days that included a strenuous training session
  • Treat yourself to a massage
  • Go for a walk on non-training days
  • Work on flexibility and mobility on rest days
  • Practice a meditation or mindfulness