Strength in Numbers with British Weight Lifting

March 13 2019

Adding weights to your workout is crucial to ensure a fit and healthy lifestyle, yet despite this, most of us don’t meet the recommended guidelines for strength training.

The current government recommendations are that we perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and strength training twice a week or more. However, statistics provided by UK Active show that only 24% of women aged 19-65 and 34% of men aged 19-65 meet these guidelines.

To help people get back on track, British Weight Lifting has launched their new campaign, “Strength in Numbers”, with the aim to educate on how strength training can improve your physical and mental wellbeing.

How often should I train?

As with any aspect of fitness, everyone is different and what works for you might not work for someone else.

That being said, the government has released some recommendations on how much training we should be doing based on our age:

Children and young adults aged 5-18

  • At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day - this should range from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis.
  • On 3 days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles and bones, such as swinging on playground equipment, hopping, skipping and sports such as gymnastics

Adults ages 19-64

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week
  • Strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Adults aged 65 and over

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week
  • Strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

What exercises can I do?

If you’re new to strength training, it can be a bit intimidating on your first visit to the weights area. To help you overcome any initial nerves, we’ve created the ultimate weightlifting jargon buster, so you can walk out onto the gym floor with confidence.

Although a staple of strength training, you don’t even need to use weights at all if you don’t want to. There is a wide range of bodyweight exercises that can help you build up your strength, from squats and lunges to planks and push-ups.

Group fitness classes are another great way to ensure you’re hitting your fitness goals. Whether you’re new to the gym or a seasoned pro, classes are a way to get everyone involved. At Fitness First, we have a number of strength training classes available, where our trained instructors will walk you through each exercise.

What are the benefits of strength training?

Weightlifting has a bit of a reputation of something only the hyper-muscular gym goers do. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a number of health benefits that you can gain by incorporating weights into your fitness routine.

  1. You’ll get stronger - Even using light weights will help you build up your muscular endurance, with compound lifts like squats and deadlifts being the most effective. If you’re used to using weights and want to increase your physical strength, incremental weight addition is the best way to do it.
  2. It’s good for your bones - It’s not just your muscles that will reap the benefits, your bones will too! Regularly exercising with weights reduces the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
  3. You’ll burn fat - Hitting the weights not only builds strength but is a great way to burn body fat too. Strength training increases your lean body mass, which contributes to how many calories you burn throughout the day.
  4. Your cardio will improve - Adding weights to your workout can also help you perform better in activities such as running and swimming. Not only will stronger muscles help support your body’s weight, but will make your limbs more powerful for better results.
  5. It reduces your risk of injury - If you’re a regular runner or like explosive sports like football and tennis, strengthening the muscles around your joints will make each movement easier and makes injuries much less likely.
  6. It can improve your mood - As well as the physical benefits of strength training, lifting weights can also help to improve your mood and self-esteem. The endorphins released when training relive stress, make you feel happy and help keep you focused.

How to get involved in the campaign

British Weight Lifting aim to raise awareness on our recommended strength training guidelines and provide helpful information through their Strength in Numbers campaign.

Whether it’s at school, work, or at the gym, British Weight Lifting want to know how you’re squeezing in your training. To get involved, simply share your stories and photos with the BWL Twitter and Instagram accounts with the hashtag #StrengthInNumbers.

While you’re at it, why not take this opportunity to upgrade your workout gear? Our range of training kit has everything you need to stay comfortable and supported as you train.

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