Intimidated by lifting weights? Don’t be. Worried that pumping iron will make you too bulky? It won’t (unless you want it to). Strength training provides so many more health benefits than just changing outwardly appearances. Muscle strength is the foundation of many of life’s everyday activities. And the stronger you are the more you will enjoy them and life in general. Plus, you’ll prevent injury too.
Benefits of Strength Training:
- Boosts your metabolism. This happens in a couple of different ways. After you exercise, your body works to recuperate and that takes calories. Some studies show that your metabolism is boosted for 38 hours post workout. Secondly, having more muscle mass increases your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) because it takes more calories to maintain muscle than to maintain fat. And the RMR accounts for the largest proportion of total daily energy expenditure so small changes in your RMR can have long-term benefits for weight management.
- Strengthens you to the core. Lifting weights develops your musculature so your body has a firmer shape. And a strong core promotes good back health.
- Strengthens bones. Studies show that strength training improves bone density, helping prevent and mitigate osteoporosis. Putting bones under stress or strain, triggers them to build more bone cells. This is the same way strength training works, when muscles are put under stress, they are activated to build more muscle cells to be able to handle the stress.
- Reduces joint pain. If you suffer from arthritis, strengthening the muscles around the joint reduces the stress on the ligaments. Also, your joints are lubricated, which nourishes the cartilage. The result is less pain and greater mobility.
- Prevents or reverses frailty. As we age, we lose muscle strength (dynapenia) and muscle mass (sarcopenia) naturally. Strength or resistance training has the potential to lessen these age-related changes. Sarcopenia can be combated with preventative strength training and starting at any age will lessen sarcopenia. Even people who were previously sedentary and who started working out at age 85 experience a three-year longer life expectancy compared to sedentary people.
- Enhances your mood. Some of the favorable psychological changes in one study conducted include, “improvements in mood, trait anxiety, and perceived confidence in physical capability.” In other words, when your body is stronger, you feel stronger too and this can have a positive impact on mood, anxiety and confidence.
It’s important to focus on the health benefits of strength training; it’s not just about getting big muscles, losing weight or looking better. Strength training can help your bones, your balance and coordination meaning you can right yourself if you trip or start to fall, and your ability to live a better quality of life. Strength training can ultimately enable us to live independently as we age, and even stave off death.