Keeping You Moving: The importance of strength training

Some benefits of strength training include improved weight control, sleep quality, self-esteem and a reduced risk of heart disease.

  • Aug. 22, 2013 8:00 p.m.

As a physiotherapist, I have found that while many people engage in aerobic exercise, including walking, jogging, cycling and swimming, on a regular basis, few incorporate a resistance or strength workout into their weekly routine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists numerous benefits to strength training, including decreased pain due to osteoarthritis, increased bone density, reduced risk of fractures, and reduced risk of falls, improved long-term weight control, improved sleep quality, improved self-esteem and self-confidence, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Strength training is also an essential component to recovery after a musculoskeletal injury involving ligaments, tendons, muscles and bone, once a fracture is healed.

It can also be extremely beneficial for decreasing pain and improving function in those with degenerative changes, such as knee and hip osteoarthritis.

The World Health Organization recommends that adults aged 18 and above perform strength activities for the major muscle groups two or more days a week.

You do not need to belong to a gym or have access to weight machines to incorporate strength exercises into your daily routine.

Using your own body weight, and in some cases a stability ball, a resistance band and small free weights, you can achieve an effective strength workout.

Physiotherapists offer individual strength training sessions, normally 30 to 60 minutes in length, and taught by a registered physiotherapists.

These sessions are appropriate for athletes who want to ensure a full recovery after injury and a safe return to sport; employees who would like to improve their posture to reduce muscle strain at work; and older individuals who would like to maintain their function and independence by strengthening their muscles and improving their balance.

The sessions are also suitable for people who have been in a motor vehicle accident or those with chronic low back pain who would like to regain their muscle endurance and improve their core stability to return to activities of daily living.

These exercise sessions are designed to teach you safe and effective exercises targeting your individual needs.

The goal of these sessions is to develop a program using relatively little equipment, that you can complete independently at home on a weekly basis.

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