What is strength training?
Strength training is training your muscles using weights or objects that increase resistance. As a result, you gradually build up more muscle strength, so that you can more easily exert force in certain situations in daily life (such as lifting the groceries inside, or moving an IKEA cupboard). You can exercise it in different ways, such as in the gym, at home or by combining cardio like with interval training. With strength training you have two main categories in which you can divide your workout, namely general strength training and targeted/specific strength training.
General strength training does not focus on one particular muscle group or part of the body. When you do general training, you target all muscle groups in your body.
Specific strength training often has a specific purpose. Maybe you want to improve the strength in your arms or back, or you want to be more mobile. When you perform these specific exercises, you will also focus more on one particular muscle group.
Strength training is not the same as bodybuilding. When you do bodybuilding, you focus on developing a visibly muscular body, while that is not the goal with strength training. You can also have a lot of strong muscles without them all being visible.
What are the benefits of strength training?
Whatever your goal may be, strength training can be a lot of fun. In addition, there are also a number of benefits of strength training that come in handy during exercise. These benefits relate to both your mental and physical health. The Dutch Health Council advises adults to do muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week, so that comes in handy!
1. It Supports Muscle Preservation While Losing Weight
If you want to lose weight, you have to make sure that you do not lose too much muscle mass in addition to fat. By consuming fewer calories, your muscles also slowly break down. However, research among obese elderly people has shown that performing strength training supports muscle retention. When you do strength training, along with sufficient protein, the chance of muscle breakdown is smaller than if you skip this.
2. Strength Training Benefits: It’s Good For Your Mental Health
Besides that training your muscles is good for your physical health, it also has a benefit for your mental health. It can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, according to research. For example, it helps with a better self-image and your body can produce more neurotransmitters that make you feel good (such as serotonin and dopamine).
3. It is beneficial for your immune system
Strength training is also good for your health. When you keep your muscles busy, this stimulates your body to create immune cells. In addition, your body makes more white blood cells for a short period of time, which have an anti-inflammatory effect, which is also very useful for repairing muscle tears.
Strength training benefits and things to keep in mind
Of course it is nice that there are many benefits of strength training. However, it is also good to take into account a number of other points. You can’t make perfect progress overnight. There are also other factors that play into this. We have listed these for you below:
- Get enough sleep
- Also perform enough cardio exercises for a nice balance
- Eat the right foods every day
- Reduce your alcohol intake and/or smoking behavior
- Do relaxation exercises to lower your stress
- Drink enough water
- Optional: use protein shakes or protein supplements to keep your protein intake high. However, this is especially important if you do a lot of training.