Strength training is more than just strength training

The benefits of strength training

There is an ever increasing awareness around the benefits of strength training, extending far beyond the surface level aesthetics of looking more toned. Not only does strength training promote this and help to maintain muscle and of course strength, but it also helps to strengthen bones, improve sleep, help you lose weight, and SO much more.

Looking more toned really is just scraping the surface of the countless benefits of strength training, and we wanted to take a moment to tell you about these other not-so-obvious advantages.

Read on to understand the wonderful world of weights, and then come into FLY to put this knowledge into action. Our FORCE classes are here to help you learn about the gym and its amazing equipment, and provide you with the knowledge to go and independently train efficiently and safely in our open gym.

Let’s dive right in!

Strengthens bones

Strength training literally leads to stronger bones. Your bones need to stay challenged for them to stay healthy, just like your mind needs exercising to stay alert. As we age, our bone density naturally begins to decline but strength training helps slow down this process and may even help to build new bone. Our bones become less fragile and our risk of fracture and injury is reduced - something we would all like to avoid!

Helps reduce risk of injury

Common injuries, such as ankle sprain and ACL tear in the knee, are due to the ligaments and tendons being too weak for the force placed on them. The good news is that strength training promotes not just strengthening of muscles but of ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage, and connective tissue too. Strengthening the right muscles through the right kind of exercises can decrease this injury risk and even improve performance, research has found. If you ever need some guidance on this, our instructors are here to help.

I always notice that whenever I’ve reduced my strength training load and focused on endurance, especially cycling, I seem to pick up little niggles in my knee. It’s nothing extreme, but if I left it for a while without strengthening the area, it would worsen and I would end up being out injured for weeks. As soon as I get back to adding in strength training, especially squats to improve knee health and leg strength, I’m good to go again.

Helps you lose weight

Performing compound strength exercises such as the squat and deadlift will target many different muscles at once. When these muscles are worked, they get stronger by increasing their size. You end up gaining muscle, which is the most metabolically demanding tissue in the body. What does this mean? Your metabolism goes up - you end up burning more calories at rest than before. The extra muscle you now have needs to get its energy from somewhere!

Improves flexibility and mobility

Strength training tends to be villainized as a flexibility killer, making muscles tighter rather than looser. But actually, this is just a myth. In fact, strength training appears to be nearly as effective for improving flexibility as static stretching, especially when the exercise is taken to its full range of motion. Take a look at Olympic weightlifters - they are extremely strong and powerful in the movement, but equally extremely flexible being able to sink right to the floor in their squat!

Improves posture

Strength training builds up the muscles that support healthy posture, such as the core, shoulders and lower back. By correctly performing exercises that help strengthen these muscles, such as the deadlift and seated row, you are also working on improving your posture at the same time. If you need some guidance with these movements, we are here to help you at FLY.

Improves sleep

Your muscles need to recover, repair and grow in order to adapt and become stronger in response to the exercise you’ve done. Sleep greatly promotes this in addition to helping to regulate other bodily functions such as resting glucose metabolism, blood pressure and metabolic rate.

Not only does strength training take credit for helping you sleep better, but it helps you fall asleep faster and even sleep more deeply. Strength training decreases your energy by the end of the day and increases adenosine, a molecule responsible for drowsiness, and therefore creates more of a drive for sleep.

Improves mental wellbeing and mindset

Strength training has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and simultaneously improve self-esteem. And for mindset? As you progress and start to see results, watch yourself become more confident, more empowered, more disciplined - the list goes on. Strength training will teach you that you can push past those barriers you thought you had - whether mental or physical ones - and truly become better than you were yesterday. You are capable of anything you wish to do, you just have to put your mind to it.

You’ll never look back!

I remember when I started strength training a few years back and it always seemed a little daunting. I was cautious about becoming too “bulky” and losing the feminine look, but now I’ll never look back. Strength training has helped me to become the most confident and happiest version of myself and I’m positive that it can have the same effect on so many others.

If you are unsure where to start, I would recommend joining in on one of the FORCE classes we run here at FLY. A strength-focused class introducing you to the principles of weight training, providing you the knowledge to go and independently train efficiently and safely with correct form in the open gym, and giving you the opportunity to meet like-minded people who end up turning into good friends.

Join in one of our FORCE classes.

Hope to catch you on the gym floor soon!

Kiera x

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