Regular physical activity improves overall health, lowers the risk of getting many deadly diseases, and allows you to live a longer and better life. Many of us associate exercise with walking, jogging, treadmill work, or other activities that get the heart pumping. But often overlooked is the value of strength-building exercises. Once you reach your 30s and beyond, strength (or resistance) training is crucial in keeping your ability to perform the most basic daily activities – and in maintaining an active and independent lifestyle.
Over the course of my fitness coaching career, I’ve seen transformative changes in people, especially those above the age of 30, who prioritise strength training.
The Natural Decline
Starting from our thirties, we begin to lose muscle mass at a rate of about 3% per decade, a condition termed sarcopenia. We also lose about a quarter of our muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90. This isn’t just a concern for athletes; it affects everyone,
resulting in weakened physical capability and increased vulnerability as we age. Just doing aerobic exercise is not enough, unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional.
Understanding Strength Training
Strength training is an exercise that increases muscle strength by making muscles work against a weight or force (such as gravity). Because your body has natural mood enhancers, are released during strength training. It provides protection against issues that tend to get worse with age, such as chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. That’s one of the main reasons I always do strength training. I do it for my mental health.
Onset of Strength Training
I would advise you to not start heavy lifting from the get go. Rather, begin strength training with your own body weight right away if you are new to the game. Learn how to perform some fundamental bodyweight exercises, such as bodyweight squats, pullups, and pushups. The intensity can be gradually raised as strength and endurance grow
over time. Once you get a hold of that, you can start on barbells or dumbbells. The best strength training exercises are bench press, barbell back or front squat, and deadlift. These are the three big lifts I ask people to master first if they start to get into strength training.
A beginner’s strength-building workout takes as little as 20 minutes. The key is developing a well-rounded strength training program, performing the exercises with good form and consistency. You will experience noticeable gains in strength within four
to eight weeks.
While building your strength training program, personalisation is the key. There is no one size that fits all. When I started my strength training as a beginner I followed Mark Rippetoe’s ‘Starting Strength’ method. Mark is a famous American strength training coach. You can find his book or videos online to start from. It helped me a lot in the beginning. I highly recommend his method to anybody who is just starting out.
Proper technique in strength training is very important. Incorrect form not only reduces the efficiency of the exercise, but it can also result in injury. Seeking advice, perhaps from a qualified professional, is especially important for beginners or those returning to exercise after a break. As a fitness professional, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people to a healthier, more vibrant lifestyle through strength training. It’s not just about the muscles we see; it’s about the fundamental internal changes that matter more. The weights or numbers on the dumbbells or barbell are secondary. The most important thing is dedication to oneself and the realisation that each repetition and each set counts toward living a life that is not just longer but also better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TANVIR HASAN BRITTO is an ACE
certified personal trainer and ICF
Accredited – certified professional life
coach. He helps busy working
professionals with weight loss and
lifestyle management & finding balance in life.
Find him on Instagram and Facebook at
@TanvirHasanCoaching. Subscribe to
www.youtube.com/@TanvirHasanCoach ng to watch valuable health and fitness videos.