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The Benefits of Strength Training and its Effects

Strength Training

A lot of research has showed us that strength training provides us with a lot of positive effects on our brain and a certain mental health conditions are improved.

These can include:

• Anxiety
• Chronic Pain
• Cognition
• Depression
• Fatigue
• Self-esteem
• Sleep

So let’s look at how it all works and how a physical based training program improves our mental state.


The result of research has shown that low-moderate intensity strength training can reduce anxiety in individuals that do not have an anxiety disorder. However, more is not always better for us as was show in another study that high intensity training did not produce as good results what low-moderate training did.

Chronic Pain

If you have osteoarthritis and lower back pain and you complete strength training, this is better for you and will minimize the effects of both problems more than if you were to complete just aerobic exercise or both aerobic and strength training together. If you suffer from knee or hip osteoarthritis, strength training has shown to be the best type of exercise to reduce the pain.


In older adults that complete strength training, studies have shown improvement in cognitive-type brain functions. However, greater improvement was shown if these older adults completed both aerobic and strength training, which is the opposite to the chronic pain studies mentioned above.


We are aware that any form of exercise is great for reducing depression, however strength training by itself has shown the best improvement, more so than if you combine aerobic and strength training together. Regarding depression, in younger healthier adults, their results showed an even greater improvement than the older adults.


Strength training on its own has shown more improvement than any drug treatment or cognitive behavioural treatment for improving fatigue. Many of us may think that completing any sort of exercise would make us more fatigued but it is actually the total opposite!


If you complete low-moderate strength training you are going to tone and define your muscles. You will also be able to regulate your weight better and in general you will look and feel a lot healthier and better within yourself. Everybody knows that if you look better, you will feel better!


Results from sleep studies have shown that you will get a better sleep if you complete high intensity training rather than low-moderate. However, it is worth completing any sort of strength training if you have trouble falling asleep as this can still benefit you.

The benefits that we get psychologically from strength training come from improved neural adaptions or how your brain activates muscles and the more training you do, the more these connections seem to improve.


Is Running Good for Bodyweight Training?

Is Running Good for Bodyweight Training

As we get older sometimes we may need to incorporate certain exercises in order to stay healthy and at our best.

Obesity released findings from a study that showed 10,500 men aged 40+ that completed 20 minutes of strength training every day as well as running, ended up with less girth on their waistline over a 12 year period than the individuals that just ran.

Nonetheless, researchers have also found the opposite of this study to be true! Individuals that completed just strength training and did not run, got the same results and benefits as those men that combined both the strength training and running.

Therefore, we can see from the results of the above study that in order to “maintain a healthy weight and waistline, it is critical to incorporate weight training and aerobic exercise.”

Let’s look at why running is so great for bodyweight training.

The main reason this is a popular additional aerobic exercise is because it is a good calorie burner.

Say you were a 50 year old male that weighed approx. 150 pounds and was 5’7” in height, you would burn around 156 calories in body weight training, but with running you would burn around 384 calories which is over double!

You will improve your muscles that you use for everyday life with bodyweight training as these will firm and tone up gradually, but with running you minimize the build-up of body fat weight from an excess of calories.

As your muscles weigh more than fat, if you incorporate running into your training program, you may see that the weight scales are climbing, but this will be from your muscle mass gain and not from fat.

You can keep an eye on your weight gain more closely by monitoring your BMI.

Make a note of what your BMI is before you start any training program (strength or running) and when you start to notice an increase in weight you can get a rough idea of where the extra weight has come from.

If your BMI is greater than when you first started then the extra weight gain is from body fat, but if the BMI is smaller or the same from your baseline then this means that the extra weight gain is from muscle mass.

The good thing about gaining muscle mass is that even when you are resting you are still burning calories, meaning that it is a long-term burn but with running you are instantly burning calories.

If you want to combine the 2 together in your training program you will reap all of the above benefits and more and it will make your workouts all the more worthwhile.


Yoga v Strength Training

Yoga v Strength Training

The American Council on Exercise classifies strength training as “exercising with progressively heavier resistance for the purpose of strengthening the muscular skeletal system.”

There is different equipment that can be used for strength training such as resistance bands, free weights and weight machines.

These all work in their own way to provide increasing resistance as the muscles develop.

Yoga will work our muscles and muscle groups, but unlike strength training, they will only increase to a certain size based on our bodyweight.

This is due to the lack of “progressively heavier resistance.”

So can yoga replace strength training? Perhaps we should ask ourselves if yoga should replace strength training.

Yoga is a great exercise as it focuses on toning the whole of our bodies and multiple muscles rather than just one specific muscle group like completing a bicep curl.

We need to ask ourselves how much muscle mass we actually need.

Strength training will give you the boost to be able to carry many bags of shopping on one arm, but yoga however, will allow you to carry many bags of shopping, walk easier with them, and rotate and bend effortlessly whilst you are packing them away.

In the end the decision is yours to make depending on what goals you have and what you would like to gain from strength training.

In general, if you want to get an all over toned body, define full body muscles and gain a small amount of mass then yoga is probably the best exercise for you.

Yoga will also teach you breathing control and stress reduction via meditation.

On the other hand, if you want to really bulk up and simply get big biceps then strength training is probably for you.

A lot of fitness experts will suggest taking a collective approach so that you can benefit from both types of exercises.

The reason for this is because the 2 disciples work in exact opposites as strength training shortens the muscles due to the movement (known as concentric contraction) and yoga elongates the muscles because of the poses you get into (known as eccentric contraction.)

If you take part in both, your muscles will be better defined and strengthened.