Thursday April 29, 2021

How Strength is Like Your Bank Account



What do you think about when you hear the phrase “strength training”?  Most patients I ask this question to often tell me they think of athletes in a gym with heavy bars, balls, dumbells, and other fancy equipment. They think about big vanity muscles and a “hobby” that they just are not interested in.  Strength training is so much more than that, and is something that EVERY adult should participate in, regardless of the age.  It is so important, that many professional organizations, including the CDC, recommend regular muscle-strengthening activities.  The CDC recommends “activities that make your muscles work harder than usual” at least 2 days a week for all adults (https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm ).

We believe that strength is like your bank account – the more you have saved up, the more prepared you are for life.  Why is strength training so important?  There are numerous health benefits to strength training. 

Here are 3 of them:

  1. Manages and prevents arthritis and joint pain – In order to decrease your risk of progressive arthritis, you have to manage the amount of stress that goes through the joint.  The best way to do this is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints.
  2. Improves bone density and osteoporosis – A common physiologic law shows that bones adapt and change over time.  If you don’t place demands on the bone, bone will weaken over time.  If you want to slow bone loss and improve density, you must put load or demand on bones.  Strength training does this exactly!
  3. Improves functional abilities – This allows you to do the important things that make your life worth living with less aches, pains, and limitation.  It is no fun missing out or watching life happen from the sidelines. 

That sounds great, but HOW can we improve strength?

  1. Challenge muscles to the point where they adapt and change
  2. Progressively INCREASE the load over time so muscles can continue to adapt and change
  3. Typically done with higher relative weights than what you normally carry/lift
  4. Effort is very important – give it all you got and push yourself!

Now what?

Many patients that graduate physical therapy is given strength exercises that are important to continue even beyond their episode of care.  If you have lost track of your strength exercises, or are interested in starting a strength training program and don’t know where to start, contact your New Life Physical Therapist to discuss the best options and recommendations.

Most people have no clue where they stand with their strength until it begins to fail them.  Failing strength can mean inability to physically perform tasks, or pain while attempting to do physical activities. 

In May, we will be hosting our “Greatest Promotion Ever” spring event on this exact topic.  We will be performing strength and injury prevention screens that look at core pillar stability as well as 6 basic movements that every person should be able to perform.  We will evaluate if people are successful or unsuccessful and if unsuccessful set up a plan to dive deeper into why.  

If you want to know where you stand, contact us at 608.742.9356, and mention this article to schedule your appointment FREE of charge ($80 value).