It is a known fact that strength training can reduces injury risk in athletes. But can the same apply to adults?
From strengthening the rotator cuff in throwing athletes to reducing risk of ACL tears in contact sports, strength training has been studied heavily for more than a decade. The results are unanimous — athletes need to strength train.
But how does that apply to those of us who are retired athletes, weekend warriors, and workout studio fanatics?
Or what about those that don’t exercise at all or are aging? We’ve got news for you too.
If you’re an athlete, or parent of one, skip down to “Athlete Injury Risk Section 1.”
If you’re an active or inactive adult, skip down to “Adult Injury Risk Section 2.”
Athlete Injury Risk Section 1
Strength training reduces injury risk in athletes
To reduce injury risk, athletes must strength train a *minimum* of twice per week. For best results? 3-4 times per week. Especially those participating in contact sports (soccer, basketball, football, etc.).
Strength training reduces injury risk in athletes by almost 70% (contact and non-contact sports). If this fact is all you get from this blog, I’m happy! But we’ve got to talk details and dosing.
Combining strength (weights, bands, medicine balls), conditioning (cardio), neuromuscular training (balance, agility, and coordination), and mobility are key for creating a well-rounded athlete. But strength training has to be a priority.
Strength training can utilize equipment such as:
- Medicine Balls
- Resistance bands
- And more!
Strength training can also utilize body weight. But for best results, equipment adds extra stress and load.
Adult Injury Risk Section 2
Strength training reduces injury risk in adults
For athletes, strength training has been studied heavily for more than a decade.
But how does that apply to those of us who are retired athletes, weekend warriors, and workout studio fanatics? Or maybe those that don’t exercise at all or are aging?
To put it simply, it applies just the same!
Strength training reduces injury risk, improves function, and improves longevity (and overall quality of life). It is crucial for adults to stay active. In fact, it is life changing.
Here are five well-known benefits of strength training:
- Helps maintain healthy body weight
Developing lean muscle increases metabolism! This means you are burning more calories while you rest and even more during exercise.
- Provides stress to bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Resistance training stresses muscles, which pull on our bones. Over time, if we don’t have adequate stress, our bones get weaker. Weights, bands, and resistance can help reduce that risk.
- Decreases your risk of developing a chronic illness
Many chronic illnesses stem from physical inactivity. The heart and blood vessels need adequate stress to burn calories eaten and loosen plaques inside vessels. Organs and body systems need stress to grow stronger. Many chronic illnesses benefit from exercise.
- Improves mental clarity and brain function
Our brains need blood (and lots of water) to function optimally. Exercise boosts hormones and blood (and therefore oxygen) to the brain for energy and clarity!
- Helps you to function independently longer and reduces injury risk
If you don’t lose it, you lose it! Strength training helps improve function by stressing the body properly. If the body doesn’t encounter stress and variability in exercise, it won’t respond well to it in real life!
How do I reduce my injury risk?
Athletes need at least 2-3 days per week of strength training to reduce injury risk.
This could come in the form of weight training, resistance bands, medicine balls, and more. Your sport and practices don’t count. The body needs to be stressed so it can handle increases stresses during the game.
As for the adults and retired athletes out there…
Stay active! Don’t get confused why pain and injuries pop up if you aren’t training multiple days per week.
30-60 minutes is all you need, 2-3 times to stay on top of your overall wellness.
Strength training doesn’t have to be scary. If you’re concerned about starting for health reasons, speak with a qualified doctor of physical therapy for an assessment! But don’t wait. Physical activity could be the thing that saves quality years of your life!