Weight training and joint health. Find out everything you need to know about lifting weights to improve the health of your joints!
When I first stepped foot into a gym, I spent a lot of time watching other people (not like that, you creep).
I was genuinely interested in what they were doing. What exercises they chose to do, why they were doing them, and what the results of those exercises were.
With this, I spent a lot of time trying to learn from some of the older guys in the gym.
Guys who simply screamed ‘old man strength’.
And I quickly noticed that these people could easily fall into one of two categories.
- Jacked old guys who moved well, lifted a whole lot of weight, and were pain free, or;
- Jacked old guys who could lift a ton of weight, but spent their time hobbling around the gym in obvious pain, and wore braces on every single one of their joints.
So what gives?
Is weight training good for your joints? Is weight training bad for your joints?
Does it come down to genetics, diet, or lifestyle factors?
Or maybe it comes down to how you train… (hint: it probably comes down to how you train).
Weight Training and Joint Health
Contrary to popular belief, there is a large body of evidence showing that lifting weights can be pretty damn good for your joints.
See, weight training increases the strength of the muscles that surround your joints. This improves your ability to stabilize those joints during movement, which ultimately reduces joint wear and tear.
It is for this reason that weight training is actually pretty good for people with osteoarthritis.
However, there is a caveat here.
If you train like an idiot, then your joints will hate you.
Training like an idiot…
So, what do I mean by this?
Well, i guess I would characterize it by two things:
- Lifting weights with poor form and an inadequate range of motion
- Training heavy all the time
To put it simply, weight training with poor form is a great way to place undesirable loads on your joints. It is this load that has the potential to cause an acute joint injury. Similarly, lifting with a small range of motion means that you will only become stable in that short range of motion, which can create joint instability everywhere else — which may also act as a precursor for a joint injury.
Pretty simply, make sure your prioritize technique.
On the other hand, we have heavy weight training (as in lifting really heavy loads for 1-5 repetitions).
Now, just to be clear, I think heavy weight training is the cats pajamas.
It is integral to building strength, increasing power, enchaining stability, and generally making you a more robust human being.
And seriously, who doesn’t want to be a more robust human being?
But the kicker here is that it places much more load on your joints than weight training performed using higher rep ranges, and lower loads.
So if you lift heavy week in week out, you wont allow your joints time to recover between workouts, which can take an obvious toll on your joint health.
As a result, you want to make sure that you match your periods of heavy lifting with periods of higher rep stuff using lighter loads. This gives your joints some time to recover, and ensures that you continue to build strength and stability in the long run.
But Won’t Weight Training Ruin My Flexibility?
A common knock on weight training is that it will make you stiff and immobile — leaving you completely unable to get your arms over your head.
But, much like the above, I would argue that this only happens if you lift weights using inadequate range of motion,
In fact, if you weight train using a full range of motion, you can actually cause some pretty large improvements in flexibility. Impressively, some these improvements are even comparable to those caused by stretching.
Additionally, you want to make sure that you are performing a variety of movements that train all of the muscles surrounding your joints. This will ensure that you do not develop any muscular imbalances that can lead to unstable joint positions.
So, in short, no — if you train appropriately, it will not ruin your flexibility at all.
Best 4 Tips on Weight Training for Joint Health
With all this in mind, there a couple of things you can do to make sure that your weight training improves the health of your joints, rather than hinders it:
- Train using a full range of motion for every exercise
- If you enjoy heavy strength training, make sure that you also employ periods training with lighter loads and higher rep ranges
- Use a variety of exercises to ensure you do not develop any muscular imbalances
- Stretch any stiff muscles if you do have some limitations in flexibility before you start your weight training session
Simple and effective.
Take Home Message
When performed properly, weight training actually has the ability to improve your joint health — which is pretty incredible if you think about it.
But not that I said “when performed properly”…
So make sure you use the tips outlined in this article, and drop us a comment t if you have any questions!
About the Author
Have you ever wondered how long you need to work out for to get results? Well, the good news for you is that its not all that long. Enter the perfect short workout
Hi, my name is Hunter, and I am a recovering meathead.
For the longest time, I trained in the gym 5-6 times per week for a minimum of 60 minutes per session. I guzzled protein shakes, wore singlets, and made sure to consume 200 grams of protein per day, every single day.
And I was pretty cool
Or maybe I mean moronic?
Yeah, definitely moronic…
See, I honestly thought that to maximize the results of your training, you needed to exercise hard all the time. That your sessions had to be long and grueling. That if you didn’t leave the gym in a pool of sweat and muscle spasms, it was a wasted workout.
Why am I telling you all of this.
Well, I guess the first thing is to demonstrate that people can change.
I mean, kind of, anyway.
You see, I no longer train quite so long in the gym (or so often, for that matter). I eat a little less protein, and heaps more veggies. My protein shake intake is markedly less.
Oh, and save my singlets for festival season only now.
But the main reason I am telling you this is to outline something that I have learnt over the last few years.
Your training sessions do not have to last an hour to be effective.
I honestly used to think that if I couldn’t get into the gym for at least an hour, then there was no point going at all. I believed that for a workout to elicit any sort of training effect, it needed to break you down so that you could be built back up again.
Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
How long do you need to work out for?
I have since come to realize that doing something is always better than doing nothing.
I now know that you can make some serious change in as little as 20 minutes (or even less) if you do it right.
When implemented effectively, a short workout can give you the opportunity to improve technique, stress your aerobic system, and even increase your strength.
The trick is to prioritizing what you do in that 20 minutes to meet your individual goals and your individual needs.
The Perfect Short workout.
With all this in mind, I have put together a couple of really quick workouts that will take you 20 minutes to complete. Each of these are tailored to a specific training goal, and are easily adaptable. This means that you can make them suit your individual capabilities and preferences.
Seriously, what more could you want?
The Perfect Short Workout for Strength
This one is great.
To start, you are going to choose three exercises from the table below (one lower body exercise, one upper body pressing exercise, and one upper body rowing exercise).
|Lower Body Exercises||Upper Body Pressing||Upper Body Rowing|
- Trap bar deadlift
- Front squat
- Back squat
- Barbell deadlift
- Goblet Squat
- Kettlebell deadlift
- Bench press
- Push up
- Overhead press
- Seated shoulder press
- Incline press
- Push press
- Chin ups
- Inverted row
- TRX row
- Seated cable row
- Bent over row
- Pull ups
You are then going to perform those exercises using a moderately heavy weight for five repetitions each, in circuit style fashion for a grand total of 20 minutes. Within this, make sure you take 20-30 seconds rest between each exercise.
For example, I might choose to do a barbell deadlift, weighted push ups, and pull ups.
My session would then look something like this.
- Deadlift x 5 repetitions
- 30 seconds rest
- Weighed push up x 5 repetitions
- 30 seconds rest
- Pull Up x 5 repetitions
- 30 seconds rest
I would then try and perform as many rounds as I possible could in 20 minutes.
The Perfect Short Workout for Technique
If there is an exercise that you have been working on for a while (and really want to get better at), then this is for you.
Simply choose that specific exercise, and perform 10 repetitions using a light weight. The take 30-40 seconds to do some gentle core work.
Then repeat this entire process for a total of 20 minutes.
Say hypothetically I wanted to improve my front squat, my workout might look like this:
- Front squat (light weight) x 10 repetitions
- Very gentle fitball roll outs x 30 seconds
I would then repeat this for 20 minutes, trying to get in as many rounds as i could in that time.
The Perfect Short Workout for Aerobic Fitness
I have written about the merits of high intensity interval training (or HIIT for you cool kids) in the past, so I wont go into too much detail here.
What I do want to discuss is the fact that it allows you to get in a super effective aerobic workout in a very short amount of time.
In fact, a performing a simple 20 minute interval workout twice per week has been shown to cause comparable improvements in health and fitness to a couple of hours of low intensity cardio.
In short, it works.
Now, one of my favorite protocols is super simple and super effective — although I must admit, its can be a bit of challenge (in a good way, of course…).
Pick your favorite
form of torture piece of equipment and simply go at around 80% of your max speed for a whole 60 seconds. After that 60 seconds is up, go at a nice leisurely pace for another 60 seconds.
Repeat 10 times, for a grand total of 20 minutes.
As a bonus, you could do this on a rower, a bike, a treadmill, or even with some battle ropes
The Perfect Short Workout for Mobility
Last but not least, we are going to go over a nice short workout that prioritizes mobility.
Like the strength circuit, you are simply going to choose three exercises from the table below (two lower body mobility exercises, and one upper body mobility exercise).
|Lower Body Exercise 1||Lower Body Exercise 2||Upper Body Exercise|
- TRX squat
- Deep goblet squat
- Lateral TRX lunge
- Cossack squat
- Bulgarian split squat (deep)
- Split squat with front foot elevated
- Reverse Lunge with front foot elevated
- Side lying thoracic rotation
- Yoga push up
- Single arm cable row with rotation
You are then going to perform these movements with a very light weight (or even using your body weight) for 12 repetitions each back to back in a circuit style fashion for a grand total of… you guessed it… 20 minutes!
For example, I might choose to do a Cossack squat, a Deep Bulgarian Split Squat, and some Side lying thoracic rotations.
Then my session would then look something like this.
- Deep Cossack squat x 12 repetitions
- Deep Bulgarian split squat x 12 repetitions per side
- Side lying thoracic rotations x 12 repetitions per side
I would then try and perform as many rounds as I possible could in that 20 minute bout.
The important thing to remember here is that every single rep needs to be of a high quality. It should be slow and controlled, and each subsequent set you should be aiming to achieve more range of motion than you did for the set that came before it.
As a result, at the end of the circuit you should be blowing a bit, and feel nice and mobile.
This is the perfect workout to burn some energy and improve your movement capabilities.
Take Home Message
Your workout doesn’t have to last hours on end to be effective. In fact, you can see some serious results from your training in as little as 20 minutes.
So next time you are short on time, give one of these guys a go and let me know what you think.
About The Author
Eating for health doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, all it takes is a couple of very simple steps, and then sticking to them 90% of the time.
Over the last few weeks I have seen a large number of ‘Instagram exercise professionals’ (read: people who have a lot of followers and take a lot of selfies…) posting about some amazing new supplement. Coming with the statement that they will ‘detox your body’ and ‘stoke your metabolic fire’, they are almost always posted with a half naked picture and a great big ‘please buy this from me‘ smile.
You know what I am talking about.
Those ridiculous detox juice cleanses, fit teas, and fat burners.
Like seriously, what the hell makes a tea ‘fit’ anyway.
Anyhow, I am getting off track a little here. Seeing these posts has got me thinking about all that is wrong with the health industry. I mean, these so called ‘fitness gurus’ are literally preying on the self-conscious. They are using the fact that they look good naked to sell some trashy supplement that does absolutely nothing, just to make a quick buck.
It is more than a little unethical.
The fact of the matter is that, even despite these things being sold across the world, they do not do a single thing.
And as much as we would like to think that there is a quick fix to health and fitness, there simply isn’t. It all comes down to exercising often, and eating well 90% of the time.
Difficult? Often a little bit, yes.
But complex? No.
Or at least, it doesn’t have to be.
With this in mind, I wanted to outline what I believe to be the big rocks of diet. The simple strategies that I use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, to make sure my diet is pretty reasonable without a whole lot of effort.
Which is what I believe is most important when eating for health.
The Big Rocks of Diet: Eating For Health
Before I get into these tips , I wanted to add a bit of a disclaimer: I am not a dietitian. This is simple dietary advice that I have found works for me. It will not cure cancer. It will not stoke your metabolic fire, and it will not help you lose 10kgs in 3 weeks.
But it might get you healthier, which is pretty damn important (maybe even more important?).
1. Eat a Serve of Veggies With Every Meal
Well, it turns out grandma was right. Eat your veggies and grow up big and strong.
In all seriousness, vegetables are the bees knees. They are full to the brim with essential vitamins and minerals that help your body function effectively and keep you disease free. In short, they improve your health and keep your immune system strong.
As an added bonus, despite their extremely high vitamin and mineral content, vegetables contain very little energy. This means that you can eat a whole heap of them without running any real risk of weight gain, which (if you are a pig like me) is quite nice.
Who would of thought that eating for health starts with veggies…
2. Eat a Serve of Protein Every Meal
Another simple tip that can have a huge impact.
Over the last few decades, the western diet has evolved into something that is extremely carbohydrate dense (think breads, pastas, rice, and breakfast cereals).
With the increased consumption of these foods, we have less room for protein dense foods. Which is a shame, because protein essentially acts as the building blocks for our entire body. We use them to repair damaged tissue, recover from exercise, build enzymes, and to even produce new bone and connective tissue.
Protein is important.
Additionally, protein is also very satiating. This means that it makes you feel fuller, for longer.
As a result, if you eat a serve of protein at regular intervals throughout the day, you are going to be less likely to snack on junk food.
3. Try and Avoid ‘Over Consuming’ Processed Carbohydrates
I have already touched on the fact that we tend to eat a diet that is fairly dense in breads, pastas, rice, and breakfast cereals
While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with these foods, I should also note that they don’t really offer us a whole lot of nutritional value. To put it simply, they contain very few vitamins and minerals, and a whole lot of energy.
This means that they provide you with very little bang-for-your-buck.
To add to this, opposite to protein, carbohydrates are not particularly filling. With this in mind, they provide you with a heap of energy, but don’t make you feel any fuller – which is a recipe for overeating.
4. Drink More Water
Did you know that body is approximately 70% water?
Well, I read it on the bottom of a bottle cap, so it must be true.
In all seriousness, your body functions better when it is hydrated. You feel better, you have more energy, and you will be less susceptible to disease and illness.
Water is good for you.
However, most of us don’t drink anywhere near enough. We go through our daily lives in a perpetual state of dehydration, in some cases even mistaking our thirst signals for hunger signals and overeating as a result.
Fortunately, there is a very simply remedy for this – drink more water.
Start your day with a 500ml glass of water before taking a single bite to eat. Then try and carry a 1 litre drink bottle with you throughout the day, and drink all of it before you get home. Finally, have another 500ml glass of water with dinner.
This is a very easy way to ensure you are getting in at least 2 litres of water per day (which you will thank me for later)
5. Don’t Let Your Diet Rule Your Life
The last thing I wanted to touch on is more of a mindset thing.
How many times have yo told yourself you are going to eat well, and then tried to stick to that plan with a near religious intent? You then went out to dinner, went off track, and completely beat yourself about it?
If you are anything like me, too many times.
In my mind, you should aim to stick to eating well around 90 percent of the time.
What about the other 10 percent?
Go out for dinner with your friends and family. Have some desert. Have a couple of glasses of wine. A pie at the footy? Go for it.
And most importantly, don’t feel guilty about it.
As important as eating well is, it shouldn’t impact your happiness. Sometimes its about finding balance, doing as well as you possible can for 90 percent of the time,and then getting back on track straight after you have a big night out with friends.
Take Home Message
Eating for health doesn’t have to be complex. All it takes is implementing a few simple steps into your daily life, and sticking to them 90 percent of the time.
About The Author
Yoga is an ancient and complex practice, rooted in Indian philosophy, that originated several thousand years ago. Yoga began as a spiritual practice, as a way of reaching enlightenment, but in Western culture it has become popular as a way of promoting physical and mental well-being.
Although classical yoga also includes other elements, yoga as practiced in the West typically emphasizes physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana). Popular yoga styles such as hatha, iyengar, bikram, and vinyasa yoga focus on these elements. Several traditional yoga styles encourage daily practice with periodic days of rest, whereas others encourage individuals to develop schedules that fit their needs.
What do we know about the effectiveness of yoga?
- National survey results from 2012 show that many people who practice yoga believe that it improves their general well-being, and there is beginning to be evidence that it actually may help with certain aspects of wellness including stress management, positive aspects of mental health, promoting healthy eating and physical activity habits
- Yoga may help relieve low-back pain and neck pain
- There’s promising evidence that yoga may help people with some chronic diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life
- Yoga may help people with diabetes control their blood sugar
- Growing evidence indicates that yoga may help women manage both physical and psychological symptoms of menopause
- Yoga may be helpful for anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with difficult life situations
- Yoga may help people to manage sleep problems
- Yoga may be helpful for people who are trying to quit smoking
- Yoga-based interventions may help overweight/obese people lose weight
What do we know about the safety of yoga?
Yoga is generally considered a safe form of physical activity when performed properly, under the guidance of a qualified instructor. Serious injuries are rare, however, as with other types of physical activity, injuries can occur. (One of our honours students, Zoe Toland, is currently working with one of our EPs, to investigate the most common forms of yoga injuries as reported by physiotherapists, yoga teachers and yoga practitioners – we’ll keep you updated with the results!).
The most important thing to remember, as with any exercise, is to listen to the feedback your body gives you and modify and adjust what you’re doing accordingly. We want to push ourselves, and whilst feeling some level of discomfort is okay (think muscle burn and high level of challenge), but pain is our bodies way of saying ‘probably best to not do this’.
People with certain health conditions, older adults, and pregnant women may need to avoid or modify some yoga poses and practices. These individuals should discuss their specific needs with their health care professional/yoga instructor and may be better suited to more clinical yoga classes.
What happens in a yoga class?
Sometimes the biggest thing that stops us from trying something new is not knowing what to expect and fearing we’ll be the awkward newbie! So let’s go through what you can expect from a yoga class (or at least ours!)
- Yoga mats and all the props you will need (a block, a strap, a bolster, a towel) are provided, but you can always bring your own if you would prefer!
- The teacher will introduce themselves and talk about what the focus of the class will be; this could be a range of things from a certain postural focus, or an attention focus, or it could be a focus on the pace of movement
- Classes start with slow, controlled, warm-up type movements and typically move into some more challenging series of movements; you can expect challenges that target strength, balance, range of motion, focus, stability, control and your attitude toward the practice
What you won’t get…
- Spiritual-talk. We’re not dissing the spiritual talk, but we prefer to focus on your physical and mental alignment in class
- Chanting. We get it, it feels a bit weird.
- Basically, anything that’s not evidence-based within the scientific literature, won’t be included in our classes (e.g., chakras, lifestyle choices)
How often should I practice yoga?
The recommended frequency and duration of yoga sessions varies depending on the condition being treated. In general, studies examining yoga have included weekly or twice weekly 60- to 90-minute classes. For some studies, classes are shorter, but there are more classes per week. So whilst the research evidence is inconclusive, we think that any form of exercise that is challenging strength through range of motion, and providing you with a form of mindfulness is a great addition to your weekly activities!
Our recommendation: as much or as little as suits your body’s needs and fits in with your weekly schedule.
iNform’s NEW Clinical Yoga Classes!
We are super excited to be launching clinical yoga classes at the end of May, at our new Malvern clinic! Classes will run on Thursday mornings and evenings, for a duration of 45 minutes and will be run by our Exercise Physiologist and Yoga Teacher: Jacinta Brinsley. Jacinta is also completing a PhD in the area of yoga and mental health/mental illness.
If you have any questions, want further information, or want to book in for a yoga class – fill out this form
About the Author
You know that lifting weights has some benefits, but do you actually know what they are? Find out the 12 most surprising benefits of strength training!
When people talk about the health effects of exercise, most of the time they mean aerobic activity.
You know, running, jogging, cycling, and swimming. All that boring stuff that has you doing some sort of repetitive motion over and over again.
I kid, I kid.
I meant, its not that boring.
In all seriousness, there is obviously nothing wrong with this. Aerobic exercise has long been considered the gold standard for improving health and function. In fact, simply incorporating some aerobic activity into your weekly schedule has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, help prevent obesity, and can even stave off a premature death.
Which is pretty damn positive.
But typically less discussed are the many benefits of strength training.
Like the bastard stepchild you leave outside on a cold Christmas morning, strength training is often ignored by the masses. Something left to meatheads who stroll around festivals wearing nothing but a bumbag and a pair of bright yellow short shorts (not that there is anything wrong with this sort of thing, of course).
Which is a shame, because beyond this, strength training offers a myriad of benefits for literally everyone on the planet.
Hence the reason I am shedding some light on the topic.
12 Surprising Benefits of Strength Training
In my personal opinion, strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body.
In terms of getting the most bang-for-your-buck from a health and performance perspective, it is incomparable.
With this in mind, I have gone ahead and outlined the 12 most surprising benefits of strength training for your reading pleasure.
1. Strength Training Improves Cardiovascular Health
Aerobic exercise rose to such great heights because of its impact on cardiovascular health. In this manner, it is often considered to be the most effective method of improving the health and function of the cardiovascular system, and staving off heart disease.
However, it certainly isn’t alone on top of this mountain.
There is a large body of evidence clearly demonstrating that regular strength training can improve the function of your arteries and veins, while also limiting your risk arterial plaque build up.
This means reductions in blood pressure, and a lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
2. Strength Training Prevents Diabetes
Strength training is arguably the most effective methods of improving metabolic health on the planet.
It directly impacts the muscle tissues ability to absorb, store, and use blood glucose, which does wonders for your blood sugar levels. Moreover, it also improves your sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is super important.
As a result, research has consistently shown that strength training offers a very potent way to prevent the onset of diabetes.
3. Strength Training Enhances Mental Health
One of the more unique benefits of strength training revolves around its ability to improve your mental health. A single bout of strength training can improve your mood and get you feeling better immediately.
But even more impressive are the long term effects.
You see, consistent strength training has been shown to reduce the symptoms of clinically diagnosed depression and anxiety.
Like I said, impressive.
4. Strength Training Helps Persistent Pain
Here at iNform, we pride ourselves on our ability to get people out of pain, and turn them into strong, functional, and physically confident human beings.
And strength training is a large part of this.
Strength training has shown time and time again to be one of the most effective treatments for persistent and chronic pain that we have available to us.
So why not use it?
5. Strength Training Staves Off Osteoporosis
Strength training is unique because it also loads the skeleton. As a result, it places your bones under mechanical stress, which stimulates an increase in bone growth.
With this in mind, strength training causes significant increases in your bone mineral density, which can go a very long way to staving off osteoporosis.
6. Strength Training Boosts Cognitive Function
I have already gone ahead and said that strength training makes you happier, but did you know it can also make you smarter?
Well, kind of…
Regular strength training has been shown to cause marked improvements in global cognitive function and ability, while also causing some small improvements in memory capabilities.
Talk about brain gains, bruh.
7. Strength Training Increases Quality of Life
As you age, your physical capacity deteriorates. Your ability to manage normal tasks of daily living worsens.
In short, life gets harder.
But it doesn’t have to.
You see, the vast majority of these changes occur due to a loss of strength. Which can easily be mitigated by regular strength training.
There is a very good reason as to why strength training has consistently been shown to improve functional capacity and quality of life – because it works, and it works very well (duh…).
8. Strength Training Helps You Live Longer
Whether it is due to the associated health benefits, the improvements in functional capacity, or the improvements in mood, we cant be sure. But for whatever reason, older adults who strength train on the regular appear to be 46% less likely of dying than those who do not.
I don’t know about you, but I like those odds.
9. Strength Training Makes Your Balance Better
Having adequate muscle strength is integral to stabilizing your body’s joints, and therefore maintaining your balance. Conversely, if you lose strength (as we tend to with inactive aging, for example), balance decreases, and you risk of falling increases .
Its not good.
However, strength training has been shown to reverse this phenomenon by improving your balance in a very big way.
I should also note that individualized strength training actually appears to offer a more effective way of improving balance than traditional balance-style training on wobble boards and other crazy contraptions.
So ditch the wobble board and pick up a dumbbell. Your body will thank you for it.
10. Strength Training Gets You Sleeping Better
I love sleep.
I hate not being able to get to sleep.
Like, a lot.
Fortunately, I have a very simple remedy.
Starting a regular strength training routine has been shown to cause huge improvements in sleep quality, and can even get you sleeping longer. This has obvious implications for your health, and your ability to function on a daily basis.
In summary, getting stronger = sleeping better.
11. Strength Training Promotes Fat Loss
Strength training increases the amount of muscle mass that you have on your body. Now, muscle tissue is known as active tissue because it actually burns energy to function.
To put it simply, the more muscle you have on your body, the more energy your burn every single day – irrespective of your actual exercise levels.
As a result, strength training has shown time and time again to be a very good way of promoting fat loss.
12. Strength Training Improves Endurance Performance
Last but not least, strength training has even been shown to improve endurance performance.
Most people who run marathons, or love hopping on the bike for long rides, often have the misconception that lifting weights will make them heavier, and therefore make them slower. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Strength training actually makes your muscular system more efficient, while also increasing the amount of force you can put into every stroke of the pedal, or every strike of the ground. In turn, it has been shown to improve your efficiency as both a runner and a cyclist.
This simply means that strength training makes you faster over long distances, not slower.
Take Home Message
Its a shame to think about all those people who have died in pursuit of the fountain of youth when it was under their nose the whole time. Yep, strength training.
With the ability to improve everything from heart health and cognitive function, all the way to endurance performance, it is hands down the most bang for your buck exercise modality on the planet.
So what are you waiting for?
Go pick up something heavy and put it down again – your body (and mind) will thank you for it.
About the Author
Have you always been scared of the gym? You walk up to the door of the fitness centre and can feel your heart rate increasing already, your breathing is getting faster. You grab the door handle and notice your hands are a bit sweaty and a little shaky too. Your stomach feels a little queasy all of a sudden. The gym has always had this effect on you, so your workouts are short and rushed so you can get out. You can’t put your finger on what it is, but going to the gym makes you feel uneasy, scared even. Because of this, your best made plans always fall away because you don’t like going.
Does this sound like you?
How about this one?
You rock up to the theme park and get in line for the latest thrill ride. It has a huge first drop, then straight into a triple corkscrew. You are so excited, you can barely contain yourself. Your breathing is fast, heart rate is elevated. You feel a bit shaky and your partner won’t hold your hand because it’s sweaty. Your stomach is feeling a little funny now, maybe that double choc thick-shake was a bad idea!
Hang on……aren’t they all the same responses you got when you went to the gym? Well, Quite simply, yes!
What’s going on here?
Arousal is arousal. When you get scared the brain releases adrenaline and cortisol which creates all of the above mentioned physiological responses. Essentially it’s getting the body ready to move and react, in whatever way that may be. You may know it as the fight or flight response. When you get excited, the exact same process happens. The adrenaline that flows through your body from fear is the same adrenaline that flows through your body when you are excited.
So how come some things we choose to view as fear, and others as excitement? Ultimately it comes down to our mindset and how we choose to interpret the stimulus. Maybe it has to do with past experiences that can drive particular negative or positive associations and can therefore make an experience either an exciting one, or one that holds great fear.
So next time you walk into your gym and get these feelings of fear, take a moment to think about them, about why you’re feeling them what they actually mean and then move on. Could it be that you aren’t scared of the gym, that you are actually very excited about the change you are about to make and the positive impact this will have on you?
My advice to you if you do actually feel you are scared of the gym, is to look around. Not all gyms are made equal. Find somewhere that suits you and suits what you want and need. Secondly, learn to breath! Practice deep, even and controlled breathing through your diaphragm. This breathing can help to get your body back to a ‘normal’ state faster and in turn will lower your emotional arousal levels and be more in control of any situation.
Finally, find an exercise coach that you resonate with so that they can help create a positive atmosphere for you in your journey to a better and healthier self.
About the Author