Sharon H. Petry, PFT,LMT

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Benefits of Strength Training

Action creates motivation!

Strength training should be a part of your life. A strength training program provides many important benefits that cannot be achieved by any other exercise or activity. When you begin achieving great results, and realize how your life has been enhanced, the excitement and fun you experience will make the addition of a strength training program to your life well worth the effort.

Slows the aging process

Without strength training adults lose muscle mass. Research has shown more than lb of muscle is lost every year after the age of 25. Unless you strength train. Numerous studies have shown that muscles can be strengthened well into old age and even the need for walkers and canes can be reversed in some cases. The quality of life as you age can be maintained and even improved. We all have the opportunity to remain physically, mentally, socially, and sexually active through a safe and effective strength training program.

Strengthens bone by increasing bone density

The proper level of strength training improves muscle tissue and bone tissue. Training stimulus increases osteoproteins and the mineral content of bones. Making the bones stronger. When bone density is increased we reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Reduces pain and symptoms caused by numerous diseases and chronic conditions

Conditions such as Arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain, depression, and obesity have all shown significant improvement during research studies using a regularly preformed carefully monitored strength training program. Increasing muscle strength to support your joints will ease joint pain. Increasing muscle density to support your metabolism will help with glucose control. When you strength train, your self-confidence and self-esteem will improve which has a strong impact on the overall quality of your life.

Increases caloric burn

Strength training increases the body's metabolic rate, causing the body to burn more calories throughout the day. When you increase your muscle tissue your body naturally burns more calories therefore reducing the potential for fat accumulation. Each pound of lean muscle burns 35-50 calories per day. Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.

Improves glucose control

More than 14 million Americans have type 11 diabetes – a staggering 300% increase over the past forty years - and the numbers are steadily climbing.  In addition to being at greater risk for heart and renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults.  Studies show that lifestyle changes such as strength training have a profound impact on helping adults manage their diabetes.

Aids digestion

Research has demonstrated that the passage of food through the alimentary canal was 56% faster after participants strength trained for a 3 month period. This means faster elimination of toxins from the body.

Decreases risk of injury

Strength training increases bone density, tendon and ligament strength and builds a solid foundation. It helps maintain flexibility and joint strength. Our muscles also function as shock absorbers and serve as important balancing agents throughout our body. When our muscles are maintained and kept strong the risk of injury is greatly reduced because the body in general is more resilient. If an injury should occur the body will recuperate more quickly.

Improves balance and reduces risk of falling

Muscle strengthening exercises, when done properly and through a full range of motion, increase a person's flexibility and balance which will decrease the likelihood and severity of falls. Strong leg and core muscles help stabilize us.

Decreases risk of coronary disease

Strength training has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Also, heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner. Even aerobic capacity has shown improvement through a strength training program. The American Heart Association recommends strength training as a way to reduce the risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Enhances work, recreation and sports performance

No matter what your favorite sport or recreation activity is, proper strength training will undoubtedly improve your performance. When your muscles and joints are strong and flexible everything you do becomes easier and more enjoyable. Sport specific training will not only enhance your ability to participate in your sport but will also help prevent injuries.

Decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety

Strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications.  Currently, it is not known if this is because people feel better when they are stronger or if the training program produces a helpful biochemical change in the brain.  It is most likely a combination of the two.  Exercise does release chemicals into the bloodstream that are known to be natural mood enhancers and pain relievers.

Improves sleep

People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.

Increases self-esteem, confidence and self-worth

There is nothing more satisfying than the feeling after a good solid work-out. Stronger muscles and joints can have a dramatic impact on posture and leaner toned muscles tend to make everyone feel better about their appearance. The knowledge that you are doing something so important for your health and well-being will lead to improved self-esteem, increased self-confidence and the desire to do your NEXT work-out.

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Doing activity that requires moderate effort is safe for most people. But if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, or other symptoms be sure to talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.

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