“The groundwork of all happiness is good health.” L. Hunt
Nowadays, more people than ever are taking up resistance training and rightfully so. Although in the past it was thought that weight training was harmful to health and decreased speed and mobility. Thankfully, these days we have many scientific studies showing us that just the opposite is true. Weight training performed in a controlled and safe manner has many benefits for people of all ages, and I will be covering many of them right here in this very article. I’ve compiled them into a list, in no particular order, for your convenience. Check them out, perhaps it will give you that extra push you need to get into the gym, or perhaps your workouts have grown stale, in which case this may be just the fire you need to get out of a rut. Ok, enough of the chit chat. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
8 Benefits of Resistance Training
- Anti Aging. If this one doesn’t grab your attention, don’t even bother reading the rest of the list. Training slows down many of the factors that result from the aging process, and let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want to feel good in their body for as long as possible?
- It reduces abdominal fat. In 2014, a study published in the research journal obesity, performed by Harvard researchers on 10,500 men over the course of 12 years found that strength training is more effective than cardiovascular training at preventing increases in abdominal fat. In other words, if you want to get leaner, lift weights.
- Creates better cardiovascular health. Lifting weights has been shown to decrease visceral fat(abdominal fat), which loves to sit around the organs, including the heart. It also improves blood pressure and facilitates better functioning HDL(good cholesterol). Fun fact. 2015 research published in The Lancet medical journal showed that grip strength (a marker for total-body muscle health) more accurately predicts death from heart disease than blood pressure does.
- Controlled blood sugar levels. Strength training improves the muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose, or blood sugar, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels.
- It reduces the risk of cancer. Research from the journal Oncogene show that visceral fat cells produce high levels of a cancer-triggering protein called fibroblast growth factor-2, or FGF2. Also, according to research, published in Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, muscle mass is a strong predictor of cancer treatment outcomes. Muscle wasting is a common complication of cancer treatment and is associated with a higher risk of chemotherapy toxicity, faster tumor progression and lower survival rates.
- Improved brain health. Strength training can improve brain power in all people over a lifetime, but the effects are possibly the strongest in older adults who are suffering from cognitive decline. In a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics performed in 2016, when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed weight training twice a week for six months, they improved their scores on cognitive tests significantly. However, when participants spent their workouts stretching, their cognitive test scores declined. The key could be getting the blood flowing, Rebold says, noting that high-intensity strength training increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. In this study, adults lifted 80 percent of their 1RM, or the maximum amount of weight they could lift for one rep. That roughly equates to the amount of weight they could lift for eight reps without breaking form.
- Preventing and managing osteoporosis. Strength training greatly increases bone mineral density. Any weight-bearing exercise in which you’re standing with gravity pulling down on your body will lightly stress and strengthen bones and muscles.
- Improved brain health. Strength training can improve your brain power over your lifetime, however, the effects seem to be the strongest in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. In one 2016 study in the Journal of American Geriatrics, when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed weight training twice a week for six months, they significantly improved their scores on cognitive tests. However, when participants performed stretching only workouts, their cognitive test scores declined.
The key may be getting the blood flowing, Rebold says, noting that high-intensity strength training increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. In the study, adults lifted 80 percent of their 1RM, or the maximum amount of weight they could lift for one rep. That roughly equates to the amount of weight they could lift for eight reps without breaking form.
There are a tremendous number of benefits to weight training, these are only a handful, however, I hope some of them are new to you, and perhaps could be the inspiration you need to get in the gym. There’s no need to kill yourself, all you need to experience many of these and more benefits is 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week. In the meantime, I’ll be here, guiding and encouraging you every step of the way. Let’s do this!