Thinking about doing a few push-ups or lifting a weight or two? Mel Young, a strength & conditioning coach for Her Spirit, explains why it could leave you feeling great
Since I can remember, I’ve always been strong and athletic. Even as a child I could run fast, throw a ball a long way, open the jar lids for my nan, and I was always picked first on sports day. I loved being strong, even at a young age, it felt empowering. Through the years as I’ve learnt more about the importance of staying strong, I’ve tried to keep that level of strength through training and sport.
What does it mean to be physically strong?
Physical strength is the ability to complete physical tasks using your own strength. It’s being able to move with ease, confidence and balance. No matter our age or how fit we are, physical strength is important for us all to have and maintain as we get older.
How can I help keep my body strong?
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. Strength training, or resistance training, is activity targeted at exercising a certain muscle or muscle group against resistance. This resistance could be free weights, weight machines or your own body weight. You may hear the words ‘weight training’ and think that’s only for bodybuilders in the gym, but this isn’t true. It’s important for us all to be doing some kind of strength training.
Any physical exercise helps release endorphins, the wonderful happy hormones in your brain that leave you feeling great.
Our muscles are super important, they’re the reason we can walk, run, climb and carry things around. Regular strength training helps prevent the loss of muscle mass which happens naturally as we get older. It isn’t just the physical benefits that are rewarding though. Any physical exercise helps release endorphins, the wonderful happy hormones in your brain that leave you feeling great.
How does strength training make the body stronger?
Adding additional weight to your muscles as you exercise creates microscopic tears in the muscle fibres. As the body repairs these tears and the muscle heals from the strength work, this increases the mass and size of the muscle. When you start strength training or increasing the weights you use, it’s totally normal for your muscles to ache for a few days afterwards. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and happens because of the muscle tearing. It will likely happen less and less the more you train.
Top tips for strengthening exercises
Building strength doesn’t necessarily mean lifting huge weights in the gym (unless that’s your thing, of course!). It can be built in many ways, starting with bodyweight exercises and looking at how and where you move. For example, taking the stairs instead of the lift is a simple swap during your day which can help strengthen your body over time. It’s never too late to make a start at being strong.
Here are five simple tips to help you become stronger, even if you only have limited time in the day to exercise.
Always warm up
It’s important to warm up your muscles before you start any resistance exercises. A couple of minutes marching or jogging on the spot will help you prepare your body before you get going.
Set a routine
Look at your daily or weekly schedule and book in some time for yourself – even if it’s only five minutes. Consistency is key.
Whatever set of exercises you decide to try, start with just five minutes. As time goes on and when your body feels comfortable, you can increase your time to 10, 15, 20 minutes. Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time.
Focus on the core moves
Body weight movements require no equipment and are great for improving strength, balance and coordination. Focus on the five primary moves: bending, squatting, pushing, pulling and core rotation. Exercises include squats, press ups and crunches.
Come join Her Spirit
If you’re not sure where to start, come and join one of my strength or core sessions. Sign up for the Her Spirit 30-Day Strength Challenge or 30-Day Boot Camp. It takes less than five minutes every day for 30 days and you can join a like-minded community of women on the same journey as you.
Who are Her Spirit?
Her Spirit are on a mission to inspire women to become fitter, stronger and healthier. They believe that your mind, body and fuel are intrinsically linked and taking small achievable steps will lead to big changes. Her Spirit support women of all shapes and sizes to achieve goals that they never thought were possible.