Weight v/s strength trainingIt is important to not confuse strength training with weight lifting or body building or power lifting! Weight training is a general term for working out with weights to improve general health and fitness outcomes. This includes any free weight movement like dumbbells, barbells or weight machines that are found in the gym. .Weight training is for those with broad goal to improve their health, lose weight and develop their general fitness. It may not have a long term goal in mind but rather a view to have a good workout to look better or feel good about oneself. Strength training is a specific type of physical exercise that uses resistance toWeight v/s strength trainingIt is important to not confuse strength training with weight lifting or body building or power lifting!Weight training is a general term for working out with weights to improve general health and fitness outcomes. This includes any free weight movement like dumbbells, barbells or weight machines that are found in the gym. Weight training is for those with broad goal to improve their health, lose weight and develop their general fitness. It may not have a long term goal in mind but rather a view to have a good workout to look better or feel good about oneself.The benefits of doing this type of training at an early age are:• Increases child's muscle strength and endurance• Protects the child's muscles and joint from sport related injuries• Strengthens the child's bones• Improves the child's performance in any sport he/she takes up, from athletics, skating to football etc.• Helps children maintain a healthy body weight• Boosts the child's confidence and self esteemAround 7 to 8 years of age, children can start with strength training and can make it a valuable part of their overall fitness program. This way through active play, kids improve their body awareness, control and balance. To begin with, start a warm up session with aerobic exercise like light spot jogging or jumping or skipping rope for about 10 minutes.Now to begin with strength training, the child can do exercises with resistance tubing or self-resisted exercises such as push ups that are effective. Remember resistance does not have to come fromweights always. General stretching exercises should be done for about 10 minutes at the end of the session.Young adultsStrength training for adults is essential for staying fit and having a healthy lifestyle to reduce the symptoms related to chronic diseases like Diabetes, hypertension, hypo/hyper-thyroidism, obesity etc.Strength training when started early and done efficiently can:• wards off age-related muscle loss• Improve mobility• Delay the degenerative changes• Help combat depression and cognitive declineThe key rule is before lifting extra weight you should be able to handle your own body weight effectively. Often people go too fast with weight training and sacrifice the biomechanics just to lift those extra pounds of weights. After a warm-up session, start with any of the following (two to three sets of ten to fifteen repetitions three times a week:• Squats• Lunges• Push-ups (on knees or toes)• Shoulder press• Overhead curl• Bicycle crunches Gradually when you start with lifting weights, the first priority should be complete ROM (range of motion) throughout the movement. This ensures the body control while the muscle is moving. A study in 2011 indicated that adults can safely incorporate strength training in their exercise regimen three to four times a week.It has been seen that as one ages, we begin to lose one-tenth toone-half percent of muscle mass annually beginning in our mere 30s and this decline speeds up in 50s, losing one to two percent of muscle every year. After 60, we lose about 3 percent a year which comes to about 4.5 pounds of muscle strength per year. .Over 40sFor the middle aged group though the mind set of aesthetics remains but other goals like improving metabolism, blood sugar control, losing fat, and overall health to stay younger and vibrant become increasingly important. The strength training remains similar to those of the young adults', however few precautions have to be kept in mind as follows:• Avoiding injury - the focus more on the warm up exercises, and also progress gradually with the weights to prevent overuse injury.• Indulging in variety of exercises - Adding balance and flexibility exercises, focusing on mobility exercise in multi-direction for full range of motion• Increasing the time under tension on muscles and joint stability - performing the exercises with different style of tempo, slow eccentric contraction, isometrics, unilateral workout can result in ultimate performance• Reducing the spinal loading exercises - (for example deadlift) toonce or twice a week can be helpful for preventing the otherwise vulnerable low back injuries• Conditioning and keeping active outside of the gym - cardiovascular health is growing concern for people in their 40s and 50s. Simply put, as a daily walk has huge impact on improving theanabolic resistance (muscles response to anabolic stimulus is usually reduced as one advances in age).Over 60sProgressive strength training in the elderly is efficient to reduce sarcopenia and to retain motor recruitment. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass specifically related to aging. Sarcopenia affects your gait, balance and overall ability to perform daily tasks.The elderly need increased strength training as they grow older because they need to stay mobile even for their ADLs (Activity of Daily Living).Simple strength training exercises that can be done safely by the elderly include:• Wall push ups• Toe standing• Step ups• Side hip raise (standing/side lying)• Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscle strengthening/knee extension sitting on chair anabolic resistance (muscles response to anabolic stimulus is usually reduced as one advances in age).• Knee curl• Pelvic tilt• Floor back extension exercise.A minimum ankle weight of 1-3 pounds may be applied while doing the exercises and at least 2 sets of 10 repetitions each done for better results.To concludeIt is important to note that we do not need those circuit machines where a person sits down in place and performs pushing and pulling actions, what we really do need most is to get out of our seated environment and move more, step, squat, walk, lunge, jog, hop and skip, doing comfortable bodily movements that are fun to perform.Note: It is import.ant to consult your doctor and physiotherapist before starting or modifying your daily exercise regimen.Dr Nikita Morwal is a Consulting Physiotherapist.