The benefits of resistance training, however, extend far beyond aesthetics and performance.
Resistance training can improve bone mineral density (3), blood lipids and inflammation (4), glycemic control (5), body composition (6, 7), depression (8), anxiety (9), and protect against cognitive decline (10).
Resistance training has been shown to positively affect health-related quality of life, including mental health, vitality, bodily pain, physical functioning, and general health (11).
There’s even growing support for muscle mass being considered a new vital sign, as low muscle mass is associated with surgical complications, longer hospital stays, lower physical function, poorer quality of life, and shorter survival (12).
So, resistance training is pretty freaking rad.
But how exactly do you do it?
And how often?
The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week (13).
Let’s explore some popular options that satisfy these criteria.
A personal trainer or strength coach with a track record of long-term, injury-free clients might help you learn how to lift safely and effectively.
If you thrive in a group setting, consider a local Pilates, yoga (depending on the style), or CrossFit-style class at a studio that emphasizes proper form, safety, and progression.
Finding a routine that fits your needs, preferences, and goals is key.
Pick an approach that sounds appealing to you.
Give it at least a month or so of steady, consistent effort.
See how it affects how you look, feel, and perform.
See how you like it.
If it’s not for you, try something new.
Start where you are.
Do what you can.
You’ve got this.