Our bodies were made to move. We have muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments which all work together to keep us fit and healthy. Sedentary lifestyles can cause our muscles to atrophy, and for our bones to gradually lose density, which can cause many problems as we get older.1 Poor posture, weakness, and poor circulation can all lead to pain and ill health. Strength training may not seem like the most exciting type of exercise but it can be an invaluable way of preventing pain.
Being Strong Lets You Live Life to the Full
Strength training makes everything else easier. Whether you’re a performance athlete who wants to do better in your sport, or just someone who wants to be able to get your shopping out of the car effortlessly, strength training is important. It helps to ward off aches and pains, and can even help to get rid of certain issues such as lower back pain by improving your posture.
Studies show that strength training can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and ward off arthritis, and even potentially type 2 diabetes.2 In addition to helping to fight against those serious conditions, it can help with general aches and pains as well. If you’re strong, everything feels easier and you will tire more slowly. Many older adults benefit from strength training as a way of improving their mental wellbeing, too.3
Build Your Body Up
Many people, especially women, are nervous about strength training because they worry about ‘getting too bulky’. This is not necessary. It takes many years of consistent strength training with very heavy weights to ‘bulk up’. It also requires people to eat a lot of protein and a calorie surplus, and to pay a lot of attention to their recovery. When someone says that they don’t want to ‘get bulky’, they are unwittingly dismissing the huge amount of effort that those who do look like a bodybuilder have made to achieve that physique.
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Government guidelines suggest that people aim for around 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (or 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise) per week along with at least two days per week of muscle-strengthening exercises.4 Making an effort to meet or exceed those recommendations will help you to get stronger and fitter and to ward off fatigue and aches and pains.
Strength training exercises do not have to be ‘barbell exercises in the gym’. You could use kettlebells at home, or do bodyweight exercises such as push ups and chin ups. Anything which requires you to bear weight will help to make you stronger. As you get stronger and get more confidence in your body, you will have more energy and feel better.
Getting Started With Exercise
Stepping into a gym or starting a new form of exercise can sometimes be intimidating. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start exercising, to make sure that the exercises that you do are safe, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition.
If you’re finding that you’re struggling with energy and motivation, start small. You may find that you can perk yourself up with our Active blend. The black pepper, orange, and sage will help to give you a bit of a ‘lift’ so that you can get up off the sofa and get moving. Once you’re moving, the trick is to do what you can, and push yourself when things feel challenging. With weight training, it is important to not push yourself to the point that your form becomes poor because that is what can cause injuries. Be patient and gradually increase the weight that you work with over time.
Rest and Recovery
Ideally, you should leave a day or two between each workout so that you can recover. It is normal to suffer from ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’ when you first start exercising or you increase your activity levels. Rest, hydration, and the use of herbal remedies or essential oils can reduce DOMs. Cinnamon and ginger are known to help to reduce such muscle soreness.5 The Vibrant blend and the Healthy blend are both great choices for a post-workout ‘pick me up’, depending on the flavor you like. Not only can they help to reduce DOMs, they can help with inflammation in general and ease away your aches and pains
If you’re not the active sort, and you’re not used to spending time in the gym, don’t be intimidated. A strong body is a happy and healthy body. Fit in some strength training when you can and you’ll protect your body for old age so that you can enjoy playing with your grandkids or going traveling when you retire. Remember, our bodies were meant to be used. Live life to its fullest!
Photo credits: SPKLifestyleStockPhoto/shutterstock.com, PaulBiryukov/shutterstock.com