As a physical therapist I see my job as not only to help people recover from surgery or injury, but to also promote health and wellness. In this blog post I am going to touch on the benefits of strength/resistance training, discuss the recommendations, and briefly explain my profession and how seeing a physical therapist can help you.
There are many benefits of strength and resistance training . When we think of gyms we often think of the burly guy who is grunting while lifting heavy weights in his cutoff shirt! I can assure you that I do not wear my cut-off shirt in my gym. I hear a lot of different excuses as to why there are not more people taking advantage of fitness centers that are on every street corner. I want to highlight some of the awesome benefits of resistance training to educate you so you can participate in this great activity.. Resistance training has been shown to reduce your cholesterol levels, increase bone mineral density, reduce your blood pressure, and also help to increase your resting metabolic rate. All of these factors put you at a reduced risk for chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. There are studies that highlight the fact that individuals that perform resistance training have a higher resting metabolic rate. Resting metabolic rate (also called RMR) is the rate at which your body burns energy when it is at complete rest. It measures the energy it takes to perform basic functions like breathing and circulation. When this rate rises with resistance training your body becomes more efficient at burning calories which can directly affect your weight and energy levels. Now that you understand the benefits of resistance training, your next logical question might be concerning the recommendations for this type of training?
The American College of Sports Medicine is an organization that brings together physicians, physiologists, researchers, and others who work to determine how best to live the human condition. This organization has come up with guidelines regarding resistance training. The recommendations include frequency, load, volume, durations, speed, and other factors that help gain the benefits listed in the previous paragraph. It is shown that a frequency of 2 days a week is adequate to make substantial gains. They recommend choosing 8 to 10 exercises that load larger muscles that cross multiple joints. The number of repetitions recommended are between 8 and 12 with a load that is enough to create volitional fatigue. It is recommended to perform these movements in a controlled fashion demonstrating quality movements while doing just 1 set! I know most people are surprised that they can gain such great benefits from just 2 days of resistance exercises. Brian, now that I have this knowledge, where do I go from here?
It just so happens that you have a doctor of physical therapy in your community that can help create a specific program catered to your needs. Some people are overwhelmed when they enter a fitness center. They think where do I start, what should I do, how long do I need to be here, why am I here? The profession of physical therapy focuses on bringing motion to life. Our schooling focuses on the neuromusculoskeletal system. We are trained to help people deal with injury, modify their activities to reduce loads that may be detrimental to their body, prevent injury, and ensure that your body can efficiently perform the activities you enjoy. My skill set involves manual therapy. Manual therapy is the art of using your hands to facilitate movement, to increase mobility in joints, to stretch muscles, and to release tension in the body. Adequate range of motion, balance, joint mobility, and quality movement patterns are prerequisites for performing a resistance training program. I utilize a very biomechanical approach to link altered movements in your body to why you may be having pain. Pain can often be located at a distant sight from the root cause of that pain. I would be honored if you allowed me to work with you to maximize your fitness through a resistance training program.
Stay tuned for next month where I will highlight the benefits of cardiovascular exercise.