Blog

Strength training is one form of exercise that may benefit your health more than cardio ever could. It hasn’t gotten much attention in the past because the fitness world was too focused on us spending hours in the gym working up a sweat and burning off calories. We now know that the benefit of building muscle far out ways the benefit of burning calories.

Many women are afraid to do strength training because they assume that it means they will start looking bulky. The truth is that we only need do 5-10 minutes of strength training every other day to reap the health benefits, and it is very unlikely that we will start to look like the Hulk either.

Our bodies have very little capacity to store glucose. We need about a teaspoon in our blood at all times, we can store some in our liver, some in our muscle, and any excess gets stored as fat. So by building muscle with strength training we increase our glucose storage ability and this helps us to avoid raised blood sugar which is linked to insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease.

Studies have shown that strength training can help to reduce the rate of bone loss AND it can also help to actually build bone. This is because strength training causes us to put stress on the bone and this stimulates the bone cells. Our bone density decreases as we get older, so this is an excellent way to prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures.

Strength training requires concentration, co-ordination, flexibility and balance. If this is something you struggle with then you could benefit from the practice. Eventually it will become second nature and it will help you in other areas of your life!

While exercise shouldn’t be solely about burning calories (the benefits far exceed that) the body does burn more calories maintaining muscle than it does maintaining fat. Having more muscle mass really boosts the metabolism!

Here are two easy strength training exercises that anyone can do at home:

WALL SIT

Targets your bottom/glutes, inner thigh, quads and hamstrings.
45 seconds x 2 sets

How to do it:
1. Squat against the wall, cross your arms and look straight ahead with your back flat and pressed against the wall.
2. Your legs ideally need to be at 90 degrees to the wall, no more.
3. Feet in line with your knees.
4. Push with your quads into the wall.

PLANK STEP-OUTS

Targets your core and shoulders.
45 seconds x 2 sets

How to do it:
1. Position yourself on your front in a full push-up position with your body in a straight line from head to toe and your hands shoulder-width apart and directly underneath your shoulders, arms straight. You are supporting your weight on your hands and toes.
2. With a straight leg, step out to the right and tap the floor, about 25cm away from the leg’s start position, then bring it back to the centre.
3. Repeat with the other leg and continue for 45 seconds.