While I focus my efforts on using strength to treat joint pain, the reality is that the health benefits of strength training are endless. I would argue that for anyone concerned with how their body will feel in 5, 10, 20 years, strength training is the MOST important thing you can do for yourself.
Traditional medicine uses a narrow approach to treat a variety of symptoms. One pill for blood pressure. Another pill for pain. One more to help with sleep. Strength training is a ‘broad-spectrum’ treatment that improves all aspects of your health as you get older. Below are just a few of the ways that getting stronger can completely transform your life.
Joint Pain Relief
The most common cause of joint pain in adults is too much IMPACT over too long a period of time. While pills, injections, and endless doctor visits can be used to manage pain, strength training is the only way to limit impact on your joints to solve joint pain. Improving movement, strengthening muscles, and increasing mobility with strength training treats the root cause of ‘age-related pain’ for long term solutions to joint pain.
Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. And exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight. While many people assume that cardio is the best type of exercise to lose weight, studies have shown that building muscle is the most effective way to burn calories and lose weight.
Improve Bone Health
Osteopenia and osteoporosis are two more concerns for adults as they get older. Weakness in your bones can lead to pain or fractures that can force you to give up your favorite activities. The traditional approach to improving bone health is through a host of pills, supplements and rest. Building strength limits impact on our joints to treat arthritic joint pain and remodels our bones to treat osteoporosis.
Strength training reshapes bones to treat osteoporosis and osteopoenia
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. It’s obvious that the traditional pharmaceutical approach to managing your heart health isn’t working. Along with many of the other health benefits of stregth training, building stronger muscles actually lowers the risk of heart attacks and stroke. It also helps lower blood pressure without all the medications (and all their side effects).
Better Immune System Function
A well functioning immune system function is vital to fighting off infection. Building more muscle mass through strength training helps our body amount a better immune response when we get sick.
Protect Against Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and other heart condtions listed above are another leading cause of death in the United States. The traditional approach to treatment involves managing symptoms without working to improve underlying causes. Low level, systemic inflammation is a common cause of chronic disease. Strength training helps limit the low lying inflammation that contributes to many chronic diseases that we experience as we get older. Some studies even found that strength training 2x/week reduced the risk of dying from cancer by 31%.
Improving the amount and quality of your sleep is another important factor of living a healthy lifestyle. Better sleep helps boost your immune system, manage your weight, and improve your over all mood. Studies have shown that strength training helps you get a better nights sleep so you can wake up feeling well rested and refreshed.
Another health benefit of strength training is improving balance. A recent study found that your balance could be a predictor of how long you’ll live. Better balance is also important to prevent falls which can lead to fractures as you get older. Building strength in your legs has been shown as an effective means to improve balance to decrease the liklihood of falls and fractures.
Poor posture is another health concern that leads to more pain. A slumped forward, rounded posture is one of the mosre common causes of neck, shoulder, and mid back pain. Better posture has also been shown to improve confidence and how you feel about yourself. While stretching can help open up tight muscles, strengthening the muscles of your back is the best way to hold these positions for better posture.
Improved Mental Health
Stress and anxiety are becoming more and more common in our society. Left unchecked, stress contributes to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Another health benefit of strength training is lowering stress and anxiety levels. Exercise also releases endorphins and distracts your from worries or concerns for another great way to manage stress.
Maybe the most important of all, strength training can actually add years to your life. Yes, you read that right, strength training can actually add more quality years to your life. The benefits were increased when combined with aerobic exercise.
For many, the physical pain isn’t the limiting factor. The fear of injury and aggravation of joint pain is enough to keep them from doing what they love. Getting stronger is the ONLY treatment that can build the confidence to live active, healthy, and happy lives. As you get stronger you will feel better and regain the ability to do things that once proved difficult. In this way you can begin to feel confident in your body’s ability and get back to living life without any limitations.
Molly started her strength program with me to help her feel more confident in her knee for her hiking adventure in Tibet.
As you can see, the health benefits of strength training extend far beyond pain. Building strength improves all aspects of your physical and mental health. With that being said, if you’re new to strength training it’s hard to know where to start. Learning how to build strength without stressing your joints will prevent set backs and help you achieve you goals.
For the last 10 years I’ve been helping adults learn to solve chronic joint pain and maintain their lifestyle as they get older. I’ve put together a free, step-by-step program to help you get started treating your joint pain from home. Download your free copy of ‘Solving Pain With Strength’ at the link below.