Kenny Knight spotting Jessica Mitchell on the bench press.

When I was 13 years old, a cousin of mine introduced me to weight training. I remember doing a bunch of bicep curls and other exercises. I had no clue what I was doing. For the next week or so, I walked around like a T-Rex because the pain in my arms was so excruciating that I couldn’t straighten my arms.

I learned a lot of very important lessons after that first session. First, I learned I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was. Second, I learned that I didn’t have to do it all in one day. Third, I learned that resistance training hurts. Fourth and most important of all, I learned that I had a lot to learn.

I grew a love/hate relationship with resistance training that eventually leaned all the way towards love. One of the most important things I have learned is that everyone, men and women, need resistance training to remain healthy and strong.

There are many health benefits to resistance training. One of the biggest benefits is development of lean muscle on the body. Muscle is necessary for strengthening and protecting the skeleton, and it increases the body’s potential to metabolize fat. Obviously, more muscle helps us accomplish everyday tasks more easily, from lifting luggage into the overhead bin on an airplane, to raking leaves.

Resistance training comes in many forms. Long ago, before the world became infested with technology, people were more physically active than they are today. It wasn’t called “exercising;” it was just called “doing your chores.” We used to do everything from shoveling snow to doing the dishes by hand. Now we have machines that reduce the amount of physical work we do. These advancements, in some ways, have created a sedentary culture. Can you believe that people used to have to leave their house to go shopping? Now we can order our groceries with a few mouse clicks and have them delivered to our door without even leaving the recliner.

Resistance training also improves mental health. It is proven to be one of the best medicines for treatment of depression, low self-esteem and lack of confidence. For men, resistance training also helps us keep healthy testosterone levels. For women, resistance training helps prevent osteoporosis.

I can’t count the times I have had the privilege of training someone with high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, arthritis, or other health ailments, and helped them get off medications, lower their blood pressure, or generally helped them feel better and sleep better.

Resistance training is also responsible for shaping the body and resisting diseases. Because of the muscle building effect from resistance training, the body becomes physically stronger, in turn, the muscles become denser, which allows the blood cells to carry and utilize more oxygen and water.

My advice is regardless of age: if you want to be healthier, be stronger, and feel better, try resistance training.

Kenny Knight is the owner of RAGE (Real Athletes Generate Energy) Fitness and Health in Lehi. He can be reached at (801) 358-2089 or rage.fit@gmail.com.

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