Why YOU Should Be Doing Strength Training

by Megan Shine
Physiotherapist and Exercise & Sports Scientist


It is well known that daily exercise and physical activity is vital to maintain and improve your health and prevent diseases. What you may not know is frequent exercise and strength training can help reduce your pain and improve your quality of life. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists (CSEP) recommends engaging in strength exercises AT LEAST twice per week! Since exercise is referred to as the ‘most under prescribed medication’ here are a few reasons why YOU should be strength training with your physio.


  1. Reduces risk of injury

Strength training helps strengthen muscles and tendons by increasing their capacity to work under load and for longer periods of time. Resistance training addresses muscle imbalances between agonist and antagonist muscles e.g. the hamstrings and quadriceps to ensure they are both working equally rather than one being overloaded. Subsequently your muscles, ligaments and tendons get stronger and in turn are less likely to suffer from repetitive overuse injuries or from becoming strained or torn.


  1. Improve movement quality

When you are stronger, activities and tasks during your day become less laborious and easier to do, you can move more with less pain and with awareness of movement and what muscles are being activated. With this muscle awareness, load placement becomes more uniform and maximises muscles ability to work when placed in a favourable position referred to as the length tension relationship outlining that if a muscle is placed at the correct length it can apply a correlational force, however if it is over stretched it makes it much harder to do its job e.g. rounded shoulders places our posterior shoulder muscles on stretch.


  1. Reduces pain and severity of chronic conditions

Commonly injuries are acquired for 1 of 2 reasons, overuse or poor loading over prolonged periods of time. Commonly conditions like Arthritis (OA), back pain and tendon injures (Achilles tendinopathy/ RC injuries), benefit most from functional strength exercises.  This is because it can reduce pain and improve function. It is also beneficial for managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and improving heart health.  Strength training positively influences risk factors for diabetes and heart disease by improving glycaemic control and insulin resistance.


  1. Strengthens your bones and joints

Resistance training provides dynamic loads on the joints, therefore creating physiological changes in the bone, muscle, and connective tissue (tendons and ligaments). Your Bones have an incredible ability to rebuild themselves, so when a load is placed on bone, the bone is remodelled. This increases the bone density subsequently making the bone stronger. This decreases the chances of a bone injury, or degenerative changes like osteoporosis or arthritis as well as bony stress injuries. As we get older we lose approximately 1% of muscle mass per year. By weight training we are actively maintaining (and even improving) our muscle mass and strength.


  1. Weight control

The inclusion of resistance training as an integral part of an exercise therapy program has been endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American Diabetes Association. Resistance training increases your metabolic resting rate, you may not burn as many calories during a session as you would a run however, you continue to burn calories at rest AFTER completing strength-based exercises.  A significant number of studies have shown that strength training is associated with a decrease in fat mass and increase lean body mass (muscle).


  1. Improve mental health

Studies have shown that strength training alone consistently reduces anxiety and depression symptoms among healthy adults and people who suffer from anxiety and depression. The reason being is that strength training will increase endorphin (your FEEL-good hormone) release, which can improve your energy and mood!


Most people find starting exercise or going to a gym quite daunting, especially if it is something new, the Physiotherapists at Move Physiotherapy work with clients through a personalised program in a rehabilitation gym-based setting providing exercise to improve mobility, strength and endurance to overcoming pain and improve movement quality. If you are suffering from pain or are interested in stepping into the strength environment, we are here to help you on your journey.

Lastly there is a little saying I would like to leave you with:

without load, our tissues get weaker ‘ if you don’t move it you lose it’, so we better get moving!


By Megan Shine

Physiotherapist and Exercise Sports Scientist at Move Physiotherapy.

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