Strength training is a name for activities or exercises that build the strength of your muscles. Strength training involves working your muscles a little harder than you do in normal life, usually against some form of resistance. You can do this with hand weights (dumbbells), leg weights (cuffs), gym machines, resistance bands or even just your own body weight (e.g. doing push ups or squats). Strength training is not just for young people or body builders. People of all different ages, abilities and fitness levels can benefit from strength training. When beginning, the exercises should be tailored to your ability, strength and fitness, and gradually progressed as you get stronger.
What are the benefits of strength training?
Strength training can increase the strength, endurance and size of muscles. This can help to:
- support joints and reduce the amount of strain/stress
- improve posture
- improve mobility and balance
- improve bone density
- increase your stamina, meaning you can do more without getting as tired
- lose weight (as you gain more muscle your body burns more calories, even at rest)
- improve your sense of wellbeing, confidence and mood.
Why is strength training important for arthritis?
Muscle weakness and wasting is very common in arthritis, as a result of pain and difficulty moving. It is common to feel very fatigued (tired) and have less stamina (not be able to do as much as you used to be able to do). These factors can also contribute to lower levels of activity, poor balance and loss of independence. Research has shown that people with arthritis can safely participate in strength training and can prevent, and even reverse, muscle weakness. Regular strength training, under the supervision of a qualified health or exercise professional, is recommended as part of an exercise program for people with arthritis.
To learn more about how strength training can help you, go to our Information Sheet here.
Arthritis NSW Strength & Balance Program
The goal of our Strength & Balance program is to implement an exercise program which is evidence based, effective and considers the individual needs of participants. It has also been structured to foster sociability and peer-support.
Exercise Program Structure
An example of the Strength & Balance Program structure is:
- Begin with a 5 minute warm-up of dynamic movement / stretches and finish with a 5 minute cool-down of static stretches, breathing and relaxation exercises
- Circuit of 10 stations (9 exercises and 1 rest) each for 4-5 minutes (total exercise time 40-50 minutes)
- Exercises should incorporate modes of neuromuscular control, progressive (gradual increasing of) resistance training, balance training and impact loading (as appropriate)
- Example exercise stations:
> Lunges (PRT)
> Heel raises (PRT)
> Squats / STS (PRT)
> Step-ups (IL)
> Chest press (PRT)
> Shoulder retractions
> Standing hip flexion (PRT; Balance)
> Single-leg stance (Balance)
> Deltoid raises (PRT)
Classes are currently being held at Epping YMCA and Royal North Shore Hospital.
To find out more about the Program, click here.
Please note: Please consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before commencing any new types of exercise. This information does not replace individual medical advice.