Article by Sean Miller
Estimated read time – 8 minutes
This short but important article is written with the intention to inspire you and educate you on perhaps why you or someone you love would benefit from a well-designed resistance exercise regime, and to be honest, everyone can!
This will appeal to a range of readers. The healthy skeptic, those who fear weight training is dangerous or ‘not for them’, those who still believe the misleading advice that if nothing else, cardiovascular training trumps for health, weight loss and longevity. Or perhaps you already resistance train and reap the benefits of such a practice. With any luck, this will enlighten you and deepen your awareness of why to continue and the benefits you might not have known.
So what is Resistance Training?
“During a resistance training workout, you move your limbs against resistance provided by your body weight, gravity, bands, weighted bars or dumbbells” This can be also referred to as strength training.
Here is the nub of it, resistance and strength training is a crucial and a necessary way to build muscle, improve posture/balance and expand your potential and performance in life and sport. This is incredibly well documented. What to me is equally as compelling from my research and experience is its benefits on longevity (your ability to live a longer healthier life) and overall wellbeing.
Resistance training is a key pillar to life at your highest potential, for reasons we will cover later in this article. Nowadays we simply don’t move in the way we were designed to; we sit at work (largely), we sit at home, we sit in our car, and we have food conveniently delivered to our home or packed at the store.
Our Bodies We Designed To Move
Throughout human history we have walked and traversed huge distances, battled the natural elements, farmed, hunted and gathered, built homes and shelters and spent the majority of our time outdoors using our bodies. Generally speaking, our bodies are no longer used in the manner in which they are designed, and as your mother might have said “use it or lose it”.
With this inactivity we quite literally down-regulate hormone production, muscle mass, and our metabolism. As we may all know, there is a disproportion nowadays to the energy in and energy out with all of the modern convenience.
Now, I am not saying let’s down our iPhone, and go and live in the woods to run with the wolves. Modern life is great! My belief is let’s make it work for us and not be a victim to it. Moreover, if you only have a limited amount of time or resources to commit to exercise, STRENGTH/RESISTANCE training should be a priority.
Some Interesting Science And Research
Something cool to add at here is that there is an abundance of fascinating science and research showing that if you have more Type 2 Muscles fibers (the type developed when weight and strength training) it can have profound effects on the age of peoples DNA, their ability to burn fat and mitigate many ailments related to obesity. However, the depth of that research is slightly out of the scope of what I can cover here today.
More so, a 15-year study of 30,000 over 65-year-old adults looked at the benefits of strength training and longevity. Of these 30,000 observed adults, 9% of them followed the strength training guidelines of 2 times per week. The conclusions?
“Older adults who engaged in strength training at least twice a week had 46% lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41% lower odds of cardiac death and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer”
I must add that the researchers controlled for different levels of physical activity level, people who reported strength exercises appeared to see a greater mortality benefit than those who reported physical activity alone. Even when statistics were adjusted for variables like health and demographics, the results remained. What does that mean? Well it means regardless of health, location, diet and genes, strength training made a difference!
This is a wave among a sea of evidence to show how it directly contributes to fighting the negative effects of aging and positively contributes to overall health.
The way I explain this is when your body thinks it needs to stay strong and the environment demands it, your body and physiology has an amazing way of adapting, growing and responding to such stimuli. Don’t give your body a reason to age!
OK I am with you, tell me more about ‘Resistance’ training?
If you are wondering what this might look like and currently have Arnold flexing out of a scene of pumping iron in your mind, let me help to clarify. We are creating force and working against resistance. This includes traditional weightlifting, Pilates and bodyweight work.
The main movements we want to build strength in are the Squat, Lunge, Bend, Push, Pull and Twist. These are the foundational movements for all human life and are performed by all of us on some level every day. If we fail to develop good strength in these movements, injuries, falls and breaks, slipped disks are just the beginning. Learning proficiency and building gradual strength in these areas sets you up to move through life with a sense of ease, strength and stamina. Now who doesn’t want that?
All physical therapists use some form of strength training in their rehab programmes. The reason for that is because your muscles move and control your joints, and having well balanced and proper functioning muscles means your joints will move optimally, therefore reducing the risk of pain and compensation injuries.
Now, I don’t want to scare you but the science is saying beyond the age of 30 we lose six pounds of muscle mass per decade. Additionally, the first muscles to atrophy (waste away) upon aging are the buttock muscles and the “core”. Both of which are crucial for being able to move, function and stabilize effectively. With a good strength training plan you can keep this deterioration at bay and keep a firm bottom and a strong stable core WAY into the later years of your life.
What If Weight Loss Is Your Goal?
Another thing that starts to go downhill later in life is our hormone production. Hormones are little messengers that help regulate everything from tissue, cell and organ function.
Men tend to become low in testosterone, and testosterone is what helps builds lean muscle and burns fat.
For women, the same can be said for oestrogen. A proper hormonal balance is key for maintaining muscle, increasing metabolism and burning fat.
With these hormonal imbalances we can see low energy, low sex drive and a myriad of other symptoms.
While we can’t get into all the reasons that down-regulate hormones, have a guess at a way to boost them? Yes! RESISTANCE TRAINING!
When you start resistance training you can expect an increase in growth hormones that benefits your ability to burn fat, build and maintain muscle and even control blood sugar levels. So you want to combat the risk of something like Type 2 diabetes? Try strength training. Try it. It’s drug free!
“Weight training is the only activity that creates hormonal changes that help both men and women burn fat while maintaining or gaining muscle,” Jade Teta, ND, an integrative physician in North Carolina and legendary fitness coach.
Finally, building muscle actually increases our bodies demand to burn calories. How do we build muscle? Strength and Resistance Training! Simply ‘cutting calories’ doesn’t actually reshape the way your body’s natural metabolism functions. 
OK, that might have seemed like a lot of information. I am sure you are now raring and inspired to get moving ‘heavy things’. Let’s take a moment to remind you of what you can look forward to when you start to implement this in your life.
- We live in a modern landscape that does not meet the needs in which our bodies are designed. We need to meet our bodies fundamental needs.
- Resistance training appears to improves your health and longevity all across the board.
- An improvement in your hormone production and balance, thus more energy and a better metabolism.
- A greater ability to build and keep lean muscle, therefore reducing your risk of falls and fractures.
- An increase in your body’s ability to burn fat, so you can fit into those old clothes again.
- Better joint health and a significant reduction in chances of injury and pain.
Oh, and you can also expect a sexier, stronger body and increased confidence as a lovely side effect of this wonderful medicine.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I hope you feel empowered to take your health into your own hands. The only caveat to all of this wonderful information is, it’s only true if done correctly and there is no one way!
I urge you to find a skilled coach close to you to help you integrate this into your life effectively!
If you are in the North London area, swing by for a chat or write to me online. I am here to help and love meeting and connecting with new people and sharing my passion for living a healthy and fulfilling life! I would like to have shared all the additional benefits to mental and emotional health, also another passion of mine, however, I have saved that for another day.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach me at the clinic on 0203 356 7060
Yours in health,
Sean Thomas Miller
Personal Trainer, Holistic Health Coach, CHEK Practitioner & Corrective Exercise Specialist.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1493623/ (ST, growth hormones and protein synthesis)