22nd April, 2013

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The benefits of strength training

Strength training is typically seen as a way to mold, shape and develop the human body. It achieves these changes through controlled loading of muscle, tendon and bone tissue resulting in a physiological response – this is to synthesize more tissue in the areas of load. However its benefits are not just the superficial changes seen on the surface, many changes occur both physiologically and psychologically to this type of exercise which have the capacity to improve overall wellbeing.

The obvious physical effects of strength training are increases in strength, anaerobic endurance and increase the size of skeletal muscle. Done correctly, it will also produce greater durability of bone, muscle and tendons. One of the many byproducts of this greater durability is a reduced incidence of injury. This increase in strength will also help improve your technique with activities where your body may be at risk and improve overall posture.

The stress on the bone in strength training creates an increase in osteoblast cell production – the cells that create more bone tissue. Osteoblasts lay down more collagen (connective tissue) and bone density increases in the areas that are sufficiently stressed. The formation of bone during our teenage years, as well as maintenance through life is particularly important, as our body’s level of bone density will decline with age and has a sharp decline at the time of menopause. This is because reduced bone density increases the likelihood of both traumatic and insufficiency fractures.

You metabolism will also increase with weight training, something often overlooked by those who have issues with their weight. The increase in muscle mass that is achieved with weight training increases the metabolic rate – this in turn promotes long-term fat loss. Your HDL’s (good cholesterol) will also increase.

Some other examples of when strength training is particularly helpful is during rehabilitation from injuries, improving performance in sport, and reducing the effect of arthritis in joints.

On a cellular level, strength training like other forms of exercise can increase levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) in the body. These hormones all have the capacity to improve mood, reduce feelings of depression and improve sleep.

Written by Jared Rosenberg (personal trainer)

Jared Rosenberg has completed further training in rehabilitation and runs 1:1 personal training sessions in the gym at Malvern Physiotherapy Clinic. Enquire for available times