7 Tips for Chronic Pain Management

Article featured on CORA Physical Therapy

Chronic pain leads many people to avoid physical activity. Pain medication is often relied on or prescribed to help manage pain. This can lead to other significant problems such as dependence. An alternative and effective pain management strategy is regular exercise. Starting an exercise program, however, can be a whole other kind of pain.

If you believe the long-term health impact of exercise is the best option for you, here are tips for becoming more active.

Tips for becoming more active

Engaging in regular activity—especially when supervised by a physical therapist—can help you overcome the daily experience of pain and discomfort.

An exercise routine and staying motivated can help you feel better. Movement, in any manner, is a type of exercise. Being mindful of the muscle groups you use during daily activities can help you understand areas of your body that can benefit from improvements. For example, climbing stairs is akin to an aerobic exercise that requires lower body strength. Lifting a laundry detergent bottle is akin to a strengthening exercise that requires upper body strength. Awareness of pain levels, and other things like shortness of breath or the inability to perform an activity can give focus to your program design.

The key is to find ways to integrate activity into your life in a way that is natural. Strength training, increasing flexibility, and improving aerobic fitness are all great goals. Physical Therapy and personal training can help you achieve your health and fitness goals effectively and efficiently. Below are tips for getting active, today.

Get active with these 7 tips

1.Try the stairs.

The elevator is convenient, but stairs are a great form of exercise.

Pro tip: Use the railing to help with balance and while you develop the strength needed to perform this one your own. Push through your heel and try to activate your butt muscles.

2. Walk as much as you can.

Whether around your house or around the store, test your capacity and add on incrementally.

Pro tip: Get the right footwear at your local specialty running shop. Keep a journal and monitor improvement. Avoid going further than 50% of weekly volume in a single walk. (I.e., total weekly walking distance is 3 miles, a single walk should not be longer than 1.5 miles OR if total weekly walking minutes is 1 hour, a single walk should not be longer than 30 minutes)

3. Exercise in front of the TV.

When engaging in any sedentary activity like watching TV, try to get more active. Try working out while watching your favorite show. No equipment required.

Pro tip: Any movement is better than no movement. Explore the directions your arms and legs can go in. One day you can do circles with your arms while the next day your reach up and down. Visit each joint and test its potential (within a pain-free pattern).

4. Walk while on the phone.

Get up and pace back and forth to get steps in as you get the job done. Location doesn’t  matter. Whether at work, home, or on vacation, walking and talking is easy fitness.

Pro tip: Talking on the phone can distract from your awareness of the area around you. Knowing where you are and where you are going can help reduce your risk of falls or getting lost if you do become distracted.

5. Schedule in time for short workouts.

Research has shown that you can get exercise benefits from multiple, shorter sessions in a day vs 1 long session. Try 10 minutes of stretching in the morning followed by a few cardio moves. Repeat that process again on your lunch break. Before bed relax with light stretching. By the end of the day, you would have fit in 30 minutes of dedicated exercise time.

Pro tip: Develop daily routines. Loosen stiff muscles in the morning through movement patterns and stretches you are familiar with. Combat your chronic back pain with core and hip strengthening. Improve your posture with repetitions of pulling your shoulder blades together. The best part? No equipment needed!

5. Exercise with your family!

Trade in an evening together on the couch for a walk, bike ride, or throwing the ball around. This is a fantastic way to increase activity while encouraging healthier habits across your household. Taking a short walk after a meal is also linked to improved digestion and reduced instances of reflux.

Pro tip: Friendly competition may help motivate the youngsters. Rewards can incentivize participation. Pick days of the week that works for everyone and make a pact to be active together.

6. Get those chores done.

Walking the dog, cleaning the house, and mowing the lawn are all physical activities. Prep for your activities with a warmup. Treat them like sport, they are challenging.

Pro tip: Be aware of your posture, alignment of joints, breathing, and balance. Also, take note of sore muscles in the day after. This will help you to be conscious of the muscles you use during these activities, and prepare to use them next time.

Don’t let pain stop you from being active

When pain hits, we may feel the desire to rest more and move less. However, in the case of chronic pain, bed rest or prolonged rest, is not the best way to approach a flare up.

Chronic pain will not go away with a bit of rest. Rather than spending more time off your feet, getting a bit more active could be what you need to help finally experience relief from your discomfort.

Of course, this does not mean that you should disregard the pain and start pushing through it on your own with intense activity.

Working with a physical therapist can help you to reduce the experience of pain and discomfort by educating you on activities that are safe, so it will not leave you feeling worse after you are done.

In fact, as stated by Physiopedia, “The nature of a physiotherapist’s (PT’s) work makes us particularly well placed to initiate a discussion about the level of Physical Activity (PA) with each of our patients.”

When pain hits, we may feel the desire to rest more and move less. However, in the case of chronic pain, bed rest or prolonged rest, is not the best way to approach a flare up.

Chronic pain will not go away with a bit of rest. Rather than spending more time off your feet, getting a bit more active could be what you need to help finally experience relief from your discomfort.

Of course, this does not mean that you should disregard the pain and start pushing through it on your own with intense activity.

Working with a physical therapist can help you to reduce the experience of pain and discomfort by educating you on activities that are safe, so it will not leave you feeling worse after you are done.

In fact, as stated by Physiopedia, “The nature of a physiotherapist’s (PT’s) work makes us particularly well placed to initiate a discussion about the level of Physical Activity (PA) with each of our patients.”

Exercise can help with chronic pain by:

  • Supporting healthy muscle development
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Supporting weight loss
  • Improving heart health

Ready to get moving?

If you have not been physically active in a while, starting small is the best place to start. Even 5 minutes can be a great starting point.

If you still are not sure where to start or if you have a nagging pain that is stopping you from starting, you can reach out to to speak with a clinician.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Quick Fixes for Aching Elbows

The elbow is a funny joint. It is home to your funny bone—your ulnar nerve—which hurts if it’s hit a certain way. And the elbow is often overlooked as an important joint to help us maintain our independence. Many older adults may not think much about the elbow, because it’s not a weight-bearing joint and because it doesn’t often develop arthritis or require joint replacement in the older adult population. But elbow pain can keep you from getting dressed, cooking dinner, and anything else that requires the use of your arm. Taking care of this joint helps ensure that you can care for yourself.

Causes of elbow pain

The elbow is made up of bones, muscles, ligaments (which connect bones), and tendons (which connect muscles to bone). The most common cause of elbow pain is inflammation of one or both of the elbow’s two tendons. This is called tendinitis, and it is often the result of overuse. “Repetitive movements from everyday work, household chores, golf, or tennis can affect the muscles above and below the elbow and cause tendinitis,” says Norby. Tendinitis pain travels from the elbow to the upper arm or to the lower arm.

Other causes of elbow pain are fractures from falling onto an outstretched arm; arthritis; sprains, which stretch or tear elbow ligaments; and bursitis, inflammation of the fluid-filled joint cushions called bursae.

Diagnosis and fixes

If you are unable to make your arm completely straight after an injury, Contact your doctor to check for a possible fracture. You’ll likely undergo an x-ray.

If your elbow is just sore, you should consider these fixes before contacting your doctor for help.

  • Rest. Stop overuse of the muscle group you suspect is behind your elbow pain. For example, if you have a hobby or project that requires repetitive wrist flexing or extending, you may be overusing the muscles and tendons of the forearm that connect to the elbow.
  • Heat therapy. Heat can bring blood flow and nutrients to the elbow, which can encourage healing. Protect your skin with a thin cloth, then place a heating pad or hot pack around your elbow.
  • Stretching. Stretching out the muscles of the forearm can offer some relief. Simply straighten your elbow out with the palm of your hand facing the floor, and gently pull your fingers toward the underside of your wrist. You should feel a stretch along the back of your forearm. Hold it for 30 seconds. Then flip your forearm over, with your palm facing the ceiling, and push your fingers toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Bracing. Constantly wearing a brace keeps the muscles still, allowing them time to heal. You can buy various arm braces at most drugstores. Look for one that immobilizes the muscles that may be causing your pain, such as a wrist or forearm brace if you often flex your wrist.

Prevention

Once your elbow has healed, talk to your doctor about physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. You’ll likely perform exercises such as biceps curls that focus on the muscles in your upper arm. Strengthen your muscles every other day, so they have time to repair and replenish energy stores. You can stretch them daily.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

9 Best Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Article featured on MedicalNewsToday

For people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), exercise can be hugely beneficial for relieving pain and joint stiffness.

People with RA who exercise may find that they have less pain than those who do not. Exercise can reduce painful symptoms, improve joint function and flexibility, increase range of motion, and boost mood.

It is best to seek medical advice before starting any exercise program and work with a doctor and a physical therapist to develop a tailored exercise plan.

Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Explore our comprehensive information on FDA-approved medications for rheumatoid arthritis. Learn about side effects, dosage, interactions, and more.

Best exercises for RA pain

The following types of exercise may help relieve the pain, joint stiffness, and other symptoms that RA can cause:

  1. Stretching

Stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and increase range of motion. Stretching daily is important for relieving RA symptoms.

The ideal stretching routine will be different for each person and depend on which joints are affected and what symptoms occur. However, stretches often involve slowly and gently moving the joints of the knees, hands, and elbows.

A typical stretching routine may consist of:

  • warming up by walking in place or pumping the arms while sitting or standing for 3–5 minutes.
  • holding each stretch for 20–30 seconds before releasing it.
  • repeating each stretch 2–3 times. Using a yoga strap may help people maintain proper form while stretching. If someone does not have a yoga strap, they could use an alternative such as a dog leash.

Some people may find it beneficial to work with a physical therapist who understands RA to learn the correct way to perform the stretches that meet their personal needs.

  1. Walking

Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that can help with aerobic conditioning, heart and joint health, and mood.

It is essential to wear proper shoes and stay hydrated, even if the walking is not strenuous. It is often sensible to walk slowly initially and then increase the pace when possible.

A person may want to start a walking routine on flat, even surfaces before progressing to uphill, downhill, or uneven surfaces.

  1. Flowing movements, such as tai chi and yoga

Both tai chi and yoga combine deep breathing, flowing movements, gentle poses, and meditation. They increase flexibility, balance, and range of motion while also reducing stress.

A 2013 study of participants with RA who had done group tai chi suggested that tai chi could reduce anxiety and depression while increasing self-motivation and self-esteem.

The participants did tai chi twice a week for 12 weeks.

A 2013 study of women with RA who did Iyengar yoga suggests that this exercise had mood, fatigue, and pain disability benefits. The participants did yoga twice a week for six weeks.

It is possible to find free online videos or apps like Gaia for tai chi or yoga workouts, including some yoga workouts specifically for people with RA. A person should always talk to their doctor before starting a yoga or tai chi practice.

  1. Pilates

Pilates is a low-impact activity that can increase flexibility for enhanced joint health.

It can be helpful to do Pilates poses that activate the core muscles and emphasize movements that help with stability. Pilates can be good for overall movement patterns, similar to tai chi and yoga.

People new to Pilates should begin slowly and seek guidance from a certified trainer if possible.

  1. Water exercises

Water helps support body weight by minimizing gravity, which means that water exercises do not impact heavily on the joints.

Swimming, water aerobics, and other gentle water exercises can increase flexibility, range of motion, strength, and aerobic conditioning. They can also reduce joint stress and stiffness.

More studies on the benefits of water exercises on RA are needed.

  1. Cycling

As RA increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, it is vital to keep the heart as healthy as possible. Cycling can help improve cardiovascular function.

Riding a stationary bike can be a safe way to get the joints moving and improve cardiovascular fitness. A benefit of a stationary bike is that a person can be supervised while riding. A person can also ride their bike outdoors to get fresh air.

In addition to improving aerobic conditioning, cycling can reduce stiffness, increase range of motion and leg strength, and build endurance.

  1. Strength training

Strengthening the muscles around the affected joints can help increase strength while reducing pain and other RA symptoms.

Using a resistance band is a way to challenge the body and build muscle over time. A physical therapist who works with people with RA should be able to offer guidance on suitable exercises.

  1. Hand exercises

RA can sometimes lead to limited use of the hands. A person with RA may lose their grip strength or find that they are dropping things.

Bending the wrists up and down, slowly curling the fingers, spreading the fingers wide on a table, and squeezing a stress ball can all help increase strength and flexibility in the hands.

  1. Gardening

Light gardening can be a beneficial exercise for a person with RA.

People should be gentle with their body, work slowly, and avoid overstraining the muscles and joints.

A person can avoid overstraining by avoiding bending and twisting in ways that can aggravate the lower back. A gardener should make sure to properly hinge at the hips when working in the garden.

Tips for exercising with RA

The tips below may improve safety and comfort when exercising with RA:

Be consistent

People need to exercise consistently to achieve meaningful results. It is important to keep at it and practice regularly. A person with RA will benefit from consistent and lifelong aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises. Some days may be less comfortable than others, but it is possible to adjust the intensity accordingly.

Accessorize for comfort and protection

The following methods can help people exercise more comfortably with less risk of injury and falls:

  • choosing proper shoes that provide the right protection and balance
  • using a slip-resistant yoga mat
  • wearing comfortable clothes that wick sweat away quickly

Seek variety

RA symptoms can vary daily, and they tend to come in waves. People often experience flares and periods of remission.

Doing a variety of exercises and mixing up the daily routine can help people avoid overworking one set of muscles or particular joints.

For example, a person doing morning stretches each day may choose to add strength training twice a week, a water workout once a week, and yoga or tai chi twice a week, symptoms permitting.

This variety should prevent any overuse injuries, which can aggravate symptoms and counter the benefits of the exercise.

Adjust exercises according to symptoms

People can reduce the intensity of an exercise on days when symptoms are more severe. For example, they could place a resistance band around the forearms instead of holding it in the hands.

Alternatively, they can try a different type of exercise or exercise for a shorter time.

On days when cycling or swimming seems too much, switching this type of activity to a leisurely stroll or some stretching will still be beneficial.

Listen to the body

It is important for people with RA to remain as physically active as possible. However, it is equally crucial to avoid discomfort or injuries.

It is vital to choose the right pace and listen to the body. If exercise causes discomfort or a flare, it is best to reduce the session. For example, do 10 minutes instead of 30. People should also take time off when necessary.

Pay attention to small things

Most exercises focus on large muscle groups. It is essential to make time for smaller parts of the body, such as the hands and fingers. It is also important to do small exercises with the toes and feet. Exercises that help with balance, such as yoga, are important also.

Creating a daily routine for these exercises can help.

Work with a physical therapist

Working with a physical therapist who specializes in RA can be helpful in developing a safe and appropriate exercise routine. This collaboration can be particularly beneficial for people with a new RA diagnosis or those who are experiencing a severe flare.

Exercises to avoid

People with RA should avoid strenuous exercise or any exercises that cause pain. These may include high-impact exercises that put excessive strain on the joints.

However, there are no specific exercises that everyone with RA should avoid. Each person is different, and an activity that causes pain for one person may not have the same effect on another person.

What is suitable for someone will depend on their situation and health condition. However, everyone is likely to benefit from paying close attention to their body and working with a doctor or physical therapist for guidance, if possible.

Summary

Exercise is usually helpful for people with RA. It offers a range of benefits, which include relieving symptoms, improving joint function, building strength, increasing flexibility, helping daily functioning, improving aerobic fitness, and boosting mood. It can reduce RA flares and make the symptoms of this condition easier to manage.

A person should work with a doctor and physical therapist, if possible, to develop a personalized exercise program for the best possible results.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Jog On: Exercise Won’t Raise Your Odds for Arthritic Knees

Article featured on MedicineNet

Dr. Kim Huffman, an avid runner, gets a fair amount of guff from friends about the impact that her favorite exercise has on her body.

“People all the time tell me, ‘Oh, you wait until you’re 60. Your knees are going to hate you for it’,” Huffman said. “And I’m like, ‘That’s ridiculous’.”

Next time the topic comes up, Huffman is well-armed: An extensive British analysis of prior study data has found no link between a person’s amount of exercise and their risk for knee arthritis.

The research team combined the results of six clinical trials conducted at different places around the globe, creating a pool of more than 5,000 people who were followed for 5 to 12 years for signs of knee arthritis.

In each clinical trial, researchers tracked participants’ daily activities and estimated the amount of energy they expended in physical exertion.

Neither the amount of energy burned during exercise nor the amount of time spent in physical activity had anything to do with knee pain or arthritis symptoms, the researchers concluded.

“This helps dispel a myth that I’ve been trying to dispel for quite a while,” said Huffman, an associate professor at the Duke University Medical Center’s division of rheumatology.

“If you add up the amounts of activity that people do and also the duration of activity, neither of those is associated with knee arthritis,” added Huffman, who wasn’t involved in the analysis.

Dr. Bert Mandelbaum is chief medical officer of the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer club and team physician for the U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team.

He agreed the study “further corroborates the fact that levels of exercise in one’s personal life do not increase the risk, the onset or progression of osteoarthritis.”

So where did this misconception come from?

Huffman thinks it’s because people mistake exercise-related injuries for the effect that exercise itself has on your joints.

“Right now, the clear risks for knee arthritis are genetics, injuries and female sex,” Huffman said. “People who exercise more may be more likely to injure their knee. That’s where I think the myth comes from.”

In fact, exercise can help ward off knee arthritis in several ways, Huffman said:

  • Flexing and extending the knee during exercise promotes the diffusion of fluid into the joint, promoting better nutrition.
  • An elevated metabolism created by exercise helps control inflammation in the knee joint.
  • Weight loss reduces the amount of load placed on the knee.
  • Exercise strengthens the muscles surrounding the knee, stabilizing it and reducing the risk of injury.

“I don’t think we’re finding that simple overuse or using your joint is a problem. It’s more an association with injuries and perhaps in the setting of obesity or high genetic risk,” Huffman said.

Your best bet is to choose an exercise that poses the least risk of a knee injury, Huffman said.

“If you want to go snow skiing, I don’t think that’s a huge problem but you’re probably going to be more likely to injure yourself downhill skiing than, say, walking in your neighborhood or training for a marathon,” Huffman said. “It’s not soccer or football or skiing itself. It’s just the risk for injury during those activities.”

On the other hand, exercise provides benefits that go far beyond healthy joints, said Mandelbaum, co-chair of medical affairs at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute at Santa Monica, Calif. He played no role in the research review.

“Physical activity is essential to optimize both physical and mental health and plays a central role in facilitating life’s quality and quantity,” Mandelbaum said. “The list of benefits includes decreased anxiety, better mood, decreased levels of coronary disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity, and therefore a longer life.”


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

14 Benefits of Strength Training

Article featured on Healthline

If you could do one thing to improve your health, strength training should be at the top of your list. It involves using one or more muscle groups to perform a specific task, such as lifting a weight or squatting.

Due to the growing body of evidence supporting its many benefits, strength training has become a fundamental part of most exercise programs. If you’ve ever considered strength training, you may wonder how it will benefit your life.

This article shares 14 benefits of strength training.

What is strength training?

Strength training is also known as weight training, resistance training, and muscular training.

The general definition of strength training is any physical movement in which you use your body weight or equipment (e.g., dumbbells and resistance bands) to build muscle mass, strength, and endurance.

The main types of strength training include:

  • Muscular hypertrophy. Also known as muscle building, this type of strength training uses moderate-to-heavy weights to stimulate muscle growth.
  • Muscular endurance. This refers to your muscles’ ability to sustain exercise for a period of time. Training to increase muscular endurance usually involves high reps using light weights or body weight.
  • Circuit training. During this form of full-body conditioning, you cycle through various exercises with little to no rest between them.
  • Maximum muscular strength. This type of exercise involves low reps (usually 2–6) and heavy weights to improve your overall strength. It’s best reserved for experienced exercisers who have mastered their form.
  • Explosive power. This training combines power and speed to improve your power output. It’s usually employed among trained athletes to improve their ability to perform explosive movements in their sport.

Most people focus on muscular endurance, circuit training, and muscular hypertrophy as part of their strength-training routine, while strength and power training are usually reserved for experienced athletes.

Depending on the type of strength training you choose to reach your goals, you can use various equipment (or none at all), such as:

  • Body weight: using your own body weight and the force of gravity to perform various movements (e.g., pushups, squats, planks, pullups, and lunges)
  • Free weights: equipment not bound to the floor or a machine, such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, or objects around the house
  • Resistance bands/loop bands: rubber bands that provide resistance when stretched
  • Weight machines: machines with adjustable weights or hydraulics attached to provide resistance and stress to the muscles
  • Suspension equipment: consists of ropes or straps that are anchored to a sturdy point in which a person uses their body weight and gravity to perform various exercises

Regardless of the type of strength training you perform, the goal is to put your muscles under tension to allow neuromuscular adaptations and stimulate muscle growth. With regular practice, your muscles will become stronger.

SUMMARY

Strength training is any type of exercise that involves your own body weight or equipment to build muscle mass, endurance, and strength. There are many types of strength training, such as bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, or circuit training.

14 benefits of strength training backed by science

There are many benefits to strength training that can improve your health.

1. Makes you stronger

Strength training helps you become stronger.

Gaining strength allows you to perform daily tasks much easier, such as carrying heavy groceries or running around with your kids.

Furthermore, it helps improve athletic performance in sports that require speed, power, and strength, and it may even support endurance athletes by preserving lean muscle mass.

2. Burns calories efficiently

Strength training helps boost your metabolism in two ways.

First, building muscle increases your metabolic rate. Muscles are more metabolically efficient than fat mass, allowing you to burn more calories at rest.

Second, research shows that your metabolic rate is increased up to 72 hours after strength-training exercise. This means that you’re still burning additional calories hours and even days after your workout.

3. Decreases abdominal fat

Fat stored around the abdomen, especially visceral fat, is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Multiple studies have shown the benefit of strength-training exercises for reducing abdominal and total body fat.

4. Can help you appear leaner

As you build more muscle and lose fat, you will appear leaner.

This is because muscle is more dense than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body pound for pound. Therefore, you may lose inches off of your waist even if you don’t see a change in the number on the scale.

Also, losing body fat and building stronger and larger muscles showcases more muscle definition, creating a stronger and leaner appearance.

5. Decreases your risk of falls

Strength training lowers your risk of falls, as you’re better able to support your body.

In fact, one review including 23,407 adults over the age of 60 showed a 34% reduction in falls among those who participated in a well-rounded exercise program that included balance exercises and resistance and functional training.

Fortunately, many forms of strength training have been shown to be effective, such as tai chi, weight training, and resistance band and bodyweight exercises.

6. Lowers your risk of injury

Including strength training in your exercise routine may reduce your risk of injury.

Strength training helps improve the strength, range of motion, and mobility of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This can reinforce strength around major joints like your knees, hips, and ankles to provide additional protection against injury.

What’s more, strength training can help correct muscular imbalances. For example, having a stronger core, hamstrings, and glutes takes the load off of your lower back during lifting, decreasing your risk of lower-back injuries.

Finally, adult and teenage athletes that engage in strength training have a lower likelihood of injury.

In fact, one review including 7,738 athletes found strength-training programs reduced the risk of injury by 33%. It was found to lower the risk of injury in a dose-dependent manner, meaning for every 10% increase in strength-training volume, there was a 4% reduced risk of injury.

7. Improves heart health

Multiple studies have shown that regular strength-training exercise can decrease blood pressure, lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improve blood circulation by strengthening the heart and blood vessels.

Strength training also can help you maintain a healthy body weight and manage your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are a major risk factor for heart disease.

8. Helps manage your blood sugar levels

Strength training may lower your risk of developing diabetes and can help those with the condition manage it better.

Skeletal muscle helps increase insulin sensitivity. It also reduces blood sugar levels by removing glucose from the blood and sending it to muscle cells. As a result, greater muscle mass can help improve blood sugar management.

Strength training may also reduce your risk of developing diabetes. One study following 35,754 women for an average of 10 years showed a 30% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes among those who engaged in strength training compared with those who did not.

9. Promotes greater mobility and flexibility

Contrary to popular belief, strength training can make you more flexible.

Strength training increases joint range of motion (ROM), allowing for greater mobility and flexibility. Plus, those with weaker muscles tend to have lower ROM and flexibility.

In fact, a recent review comparing stretching with strength training found they were equally effective at increasing ROM.

For best results, ensure you’re completing the full ROM of an exercise — in other words, utilize your full movement potential around a joint. For example, lower yourself into a squat as far as you’re able to go without compromising your form.

10. Boosts your self-esteem

Strength training can add a major boost to your self-confidence.

It helps you overcome challenges, work toward a goal, and appreciate your body’s strength. In particular, it can increase your self-efficacy — the belief that you’re able to succeed at or perform a task — which can greatly improve your confidence.

In fact, one review of 7 studies in youth ages 10–16 years observed a significant association between strength training and high self-esteem, physical strength, and physical self-worth.

Additionally, a systematic review that studied 754 adults showed a significant link between strength training and positive body image, including body satisfaction, appearance, and social physique anxiety (the perception of judgment from others).

11. Makes your bones stronger

Strength training is crucial for bone development.

Weight-bearing exercises put temporary stress on your bones, sending a message to bone-building cells to take action and rebuild bones stronger. Having strong bones reduces your risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and falls, especially as you age.

Fortunately, you can reap the bone-strengthening benefits of strength training at any age.

12. Boosts your mood

Regular weight training may boost your mood and improve your mental health.

Multiple studies have shown that strength training may reduce anxiety and boost your mood.

Strength training confers multiple benefits to mood regulation, such as increased self-esteem and self-efficacy. What’s more, exercise promotes the release of mood-boosting endorphins, which can play a role in a positive mood.

13. Improves brain health

Those who engage in strength training may have better brain health and protection against age-related cognitive decline.

Multiple studies in older adults have pointed to significant improvements in cognitive function (e.g., processing speed, memory, and executive function) after participating in strength training, compared with those who did not participate in it.

It’s thought that resistance training has many neuroprotective effects, such as improved blood flow, reduced inflammation, and an increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is linked to memory and learning.

14. Promotes a better quality of life

Strength training may increase your quality of life, especially as you age.

Numerous studies have linked strength training to increased health-related quality of life, defined as a person’s perceived physical and mental well-being.

In fact, one review of 16 studies including adults ages 50 years and older showed a significant correlation between resistance training and better mental health, physical functioning, pain management, general health, and vitality.

What’s more, strength training may improve quality of life in those with arthritis. One review of 32 studies showed strength training significantly improved scores in pain and physical functioning.

SUMMARY

Strength training provides many benefits, such as a lower risk of chronic disease, better self-esteem, and a reduced risk of injury and falls.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday

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