The Benefits of Weight Training on Overall Health
It may seem obvious at this point that exercise is good for your health, but many people are still automatically turning to cardio when they decide to make a change and start working out. Cardio is fantastic for many, many reasons - don’t get us wrong - but as it turns out, strength training has a ton of profound, positive effects on the body, so make sure you incorporate it into your routine as well! It does a lot more than just put on muscle. According to several studies, just 30 minutes of weight training twice a week improves many different health markers.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits (and I might note that none of the studies found negative effects either!)
- Strength training increases muscle mass, lowers abdominal fat, and helps with weight control (helping you keep that weight off in the long term!) Putting on muscle raises your resting metabolism, so you’re burning more calories throughout the day, not just while you’re exercising (this keeps your metabolism much more active after a lifting workout; much longer than after cardio). And at around age 30, inactive adults start losing as much as 3 to 5 percent of lean muscle mass per year thanks to aging, accompanied by a reduction in their resting metabolic rate. As a result, many accumulate excess fat from their lowered metabolism, as they keep their nutrition and lifestyles the same. So strength training combats this phenomenon by keeping the metabolism high, putting on muscle, and burning more fat! Additionally, strength training has been shown to reverse specific aging factors in skeletal muscle.
- Weight training improves cardiovascular health and can help prevent heart disease. In research studies, strength workouts improved blood pressure, lowered LDL levels, increased HDL levels, improved blood lipid levels, and lowered overall body fat.
- Strength training improves bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Weight training wards off or improves outcomes when it comes to chronic diseases. Research studies show that it can positively affect insulin resistance, resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood sugar levels, body fat, and gastrointestinal transit time, which are associated with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, sarcopenia, fibromyalgia, and kidney disease.
- Resistance training strengthens mental health and sharpens thinking skills. It has been found to reduce depression, improve sleep, and staves off dementia.
- Resistance training reduces injury risks, and improves balance, body mechanics, flexibility, and mobility. It also contributes to the maintenance of functional abilities, and prevents lower-back pain, and other disabilities. So we can effectively keep moving well and feeling good throughout our lives - especially as we age.
- Strength training can elevate body image and increase confidence. The resulting endorphin release boosts mood and energy levels. Research has found that there are both physical and emotional benefits, particularly as we age - especially for older women!
- Strength training improves longevity. Plus, it can be more sustainable in the long-term because it can be low-impact. It is associated with longer lifespans, more vitality and independence with age, and an enhanced quality of life.
I hope you’re feeling as inspired as I am to go hit the gym (and specifically some weights!) today! Your body, mind, and spirit will all thank you, and it’ll pay dividends in the long term as far as health, wellness, and happiness go!