Lots of people have a fitness regime which includes one or two runs each week or a bike ride with, hopefully, some warm up exercises and a good stretch at the end. This is excellent for your cardiovascular (heart) fitness, but it does very little in terms of enhancing your strength and your core stability.

The benefits of incorporating resistance training are many, and include:

  • Improved posture
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Increased bone strength and density (this becomes increasingly important as you get older)
  • Increased muscle-to-fat ratio leading to boosted metabolism and resting metabolic rate
  • Enhanced joint stability
  • Lowered heart rate and blood pressure after exercise
  • Reduced risk of diabetes and arthritis

Note: the programme on in:spa retreats always includes resistance training.

Improved posture

A good resistance training programme will improve your posture both in terms of strengthened core muscles as well as compensating for poor posture developed as a function of your lifestyle (i.e. sitting incorrectly at work or while driving). In addition, we all know that if we feel good about ourselves we tend to stand taller with our shoulders back and our chest out!

Improved self-esteem

When you’re feeling fit and healthy you feel better mentally and you experience increased confidence and self-esteem. And, every time a friend or colleague comments on how great you are looking, it’s likely to make you even more determined to keep it up!

Increased bone strength and density

Sad but true, from the age of about 30 onwards Peak Bone Mass begins to decline and you can easily lose between 15-30% of your PBM by the age of 60! This is called osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercise (along with adequate consumption of calcium and exposure to the sun for the generation of vitamin D) has repeatedly been shown to increase bone density.

Increased muscle-to-fat ratio

As muscle mass increases so does your metabolic rate (rate at which the body burns energy to survive). Research has shown that regular resistance training programmes can increase your basal metabolic rate by up to 15%.

Enhanced joint stability

Increased muscle mass as well as strengthened tendons and more supported ligaments lead to greater stability around major joints – particularly joints such as the knees and the hips which tend to take the most battering in our everyday lives.

Increased health benefits

Research shows that resistance training can greatly reduce several commonly occurring health risks. For example, it has a positive affect on insulin resistance (commonly associated with Type II diabetes), blood pressure, body composition and gastrointestinal transit time – all factors that are linked to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

What now? How much do I need to do to make a difference?

Just two carefully tailored 15-20 minute sessions a week is enough to achieve the potential health benefits outlined above.

During your resistance training sessions it is important to remember to:

  • Use exercises that work on all the major muscle groups: hamstrings (back of thighs) and quadriceps (front of thighs), glutes (backside), trapezius (upper back), latissimus dorsi (sides of back), pectoralis (chest), biceps/triceps (upper arms), abdominals (stomach).
  • Perform at least 8-12 repetitions over 2-3 sets, increasing weight over time.
  • Make sure you are using a suitable weight – the last repetition should feel like really hard work!
  • Don’t overdo it and if you experience pain stop immediately (we would definitely recommend employing a personal trainer to get you started, teach you what you need to know, and devise a programme for you).
  • Make sure that you leave a day or two between sessions to rest and recover – muscles grow while resting!

We recommend visiting your doctor before embarking on any type of major change in your fitness programme or, at the very least, start your resistance training under the supervision of a personal trainer. Certainly the expert team of in:spa personal trainers can teach you everything you need to know during one of our holidays.