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The Transformative Power of Strength Training

Not only for your body, but also your mind

Article by Hannah Kinsolving

Photography by Adrianna Eargle, @adriannajoyphoto

Originally published in Lake Murray Lifestyle

One of the most amazing feats of our modern day society is our advancement in science. We now know from countless studies, that strength training has emerged as a dynamic leader in the journey to optimal health and wellness. It builds a strong physical body, fortifies mental health and instills discipline in a culture with more convenience than ever. The best part about this form of exercise is that all you need is your own body. We can enhance and progress this practice by adding weight and manipulating all kinds of factors, but the best place to start is simply the resistance of your own body weight. Integrating strength training into your routine will always contribute to a more resilient and empowered version of yourself.

On a personal note, resistance training helped me in more ways than I can count. The skills I had to develop to progress in strength, like discipline and consistency, created a foundation of confidence and self-esteem that took me to new levels in every single area of my life. I want to share with you a short list of the top physical and mental benefits you can gain by incorporating strength training into your life.

1. Physical Benefits:

The #1 Anti-aging “magic pill"

  • Bone density

    • As we age, maintaining bone density becomes crucial to prevent conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis. Strength training exerts stress on the bones, stimulating the production of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone formation. This not only helps in preventing bone loss, but can also enhance bone density, promoting skeletal health. Resistance training reduces the risk of injury due to falls, which typically occur in bone density loss.

  • Joint mobility

    • Unlike flexibility, which is the muscles being stretched, mobility must be improved by moving through challenging ranges of motion with control. You can expect improved posture, balance and overall stability as a result of strength training.

  • Metabolism Boost/Body Composition

    • Beyond the immediate effects on muscle, resistance training plays a pivotal role in revving up the metabolism. Why should you care about a boosted metabolism? The short answer is, muscle requires more energy, meaning you’ll be burning more calories any given day, all day - not just during exercise.

    • Strength training will build and shape your body, enhance muscle tone and improve endurance. It will also make fat loss and weight management MUCH easier to sustain.

  • Prevent, control and reverse chronic disease

    • There are a few main ways resistance training manages chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis:

      • Improving insulin sensitivity (no other form of exercise does this)

      • Regulating blood pressure

      • Enhancing overall cardiovascular health

2. Mental Benefits

  •  Resilience for hard things in life

    • If you do the hardest thing in the gym, it gives you perspective for the rest of your day.

    •  Anxiety and depression

      • As good as or better than leading medications at treating these mental health conditions.

      • Engaging in regular strength training has been linked to improved mood, reduced anxiety, and enhanced cognitive function. The discipline required for consistency instills a sense of accomplishment and boosts self-esteem, contributing to a positive mental outlook.

    • Enhanced cognitive function (anti-dementia/Alzheimer's)

    • Community & relationships (HUGE pillar of wellness)

      • join local gym
      • invite friends (instead of happy hours) or make new ones

Beyond the aesthetic appeal of sculpted muscles, strength training, also known as resistance training, has become an essential piece of longevity. While it once belonged only to bodybuilders and professional athletes, strength training has emerged from the dark corners of the gym and found its place as an empowerment movement. It can be added on its own OR supplement your current exercise routine, and it will ONLY benefit your existing practice - no other form of exercise can claim that!

Hannah Kinsolving

B.Sc. Kinesiology, NASM CPT, ISSN Certified Sports Nutritionist

Follow Hannah on Instagram @hannah_trains

The best part about this form of exercise is that all you need is your own body.