Strength training is also called “resistance” training because you overcome the resistance of the gravitational force. When you do a push-up, you’re overcoming the force, or resistance, of your own body weight. When you lift a hand weight, the gravitational force pulling it back to earth resists your effort. Ultimately, gravity wins. But for a few minutes a day, a few days a week, we shall overcome. Just don’t pick too big a fight. Strength Training 101
As far as your muscles are concerned, resistance tubes and bands provide just as much resistance as weights; they just use a different force. They’re really big elastic bands. Their elasticity lets you stretch them, but their elasticity in the other direction – contraction – resists your effort to keep them stretched out.
Personally, I prefer the feel of pulling and stretching to the feel of lifting. Bands and tubes are cheap; they take up almost zero space; you can pack them up and take them with you. If you drop one, you don’t break your toes.
Why Get Stronger? Now?
According to the CDC (U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention), “Research has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns – including heart disease or arthritis – often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week … As you grow older, it can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, depression.”
For bone strength and balance, strength training for just two days a week produced “1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75% increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance … [for] reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures”. CDC
“Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger… The best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind, which forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing.” (National Institutes of Health).