Strength training (also known as resistance training) is an essential form of exercise for people of all ages. Its benefits go beyond just building big biceps - resistance training is key for your long-term health! It can positively impact your cognitive health, control your weight, and affect your overall quality of life.

Resistance training sharpens your cognitive skills, allowing you to think quicker, improve your focus and perform better at work. Resistance training also helps to speed up your metabolism, which affects your ability to lose weight. When you age, you naturally lose lean muscle, thus increasing your body fat percentage if you are not engaging in activities that supplement the muscle you are losing.

When you resistance train, you are improving your quality of life as the muscle mass you're building and the calories you're burning give you more energy to better perform everyday activities like taking the garbage out and playing with your kids. 

women doing resistant training

Can I only resistance train using dumbbells?

No way! Resistance training is a broad term that covers many types of exercise, such as using resistance bands, bodyweight movements, and exercise machines. 

Resistance bands and body weight. Bodyweight exercise is a very convenient and effective form of fitness. But don't think that means they're easy! Exercises such as push ups, pull ups, lunges, squats, and triceps dips can all be done without equipment while still giving you a post-workout burn you'll love.

Resistance bands are a very inexpensive way to strengthen your muscles. Choose a band that challenges your lower body and is light enough that you can use it for the upper body and core - one band can deliver a total body workout! 

Free weights and exercise machines. Free weights include kettlebells, barbells, and dumbbells – equipment that stands alone and has multiple uses. Exercise machines are static machines designed to move in a particular way by providing fixed or adjustable amounts of resistance. 

man doing resistant training

How do I start resistance training?

If you're starting a resistance training routine for the first time or just in a long time, don't overcomplicate it. Start with a quick warm-up, then pick 3-5 bodyweight exercises that you can perform 10-15 repetitions. Once these bodyweight exercises become more manageable, grab yourself a pair of free weights or bands that challenge you. If you only have one pair of lighter dumbbells, increase your repetitions until you reach fatigue. This is a great way to make your muscles stronger without breaking the bank. 

Try not to get stuck doing the same workout and exercises every time! You will feel more motivated to maintain an exercise routine if you have variation in your resistance workouts. Use resistance bands one day, a combination of resistance bands and free weights the next, and don't downplay bodyweight workouts! It's important to give your muscles time to recover, so skip a day in between your resistance workouts.

Working out five times a week means nothing if you aren't using proper technique, eating the right foods, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep. If you are consistent with your training, you may notice an improvement in your strength as you build up your muscle mass.