Why Strength Training is so Good For You
Six reasons why you should lift weights for better health
Are you eating healthy and exercising regularly, but still not seeing or feeling the results you want? Then maybe you should start lifting and putting something down more often.
It can greatly improve your quality of life,” says Dr. Adrian Hutber, vice president of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine initiative. Strength training keeps muscles flexible, helps regulate metabolism, and strengthens the body to keep disease and other signs of aging at bay.
Still not convinced? We’re happy to share six reasons why strength training can help you achieve your goals for better health.
- It keeps your heart beating.
When you lift weights, your heart will thank you. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, resistance training can help lower blood pressure. And that in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.
- It makes your bones stronger.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis. Another 44 million Americans have low bone density, which increases their risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Sometimes severe or rapid weight loss in older people can have a negative impact on bone density. Research has shown that strength training can help maintain and possibly improve bone density, even if you lose weight.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to get stronger bones. Doing more repetitions with light weights would be just as beneficial for bone health as lifting heavy weights. This was found in a small preliminary study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness in 2017.
- It lowers your risk of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious diet- and weight-related health problem that is slowly reaching epidemic proportions, says Dr Hutber. Increasing muscle mass and strengthening mitochondria (the energy core of cells) after intense, prolonged and personalised strength training can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation in certain individuals with type 2 diabetes.
- it helps you lose weight.
“If you want to lose weight, strength training can be an effective addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise,” says sports scientist Erica Suter. Strength training makes you look and feel slimmer, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to a lower number on the scale.
This is because muscle tissue is denser and more metabolically active than fat tissue. Strength training will give you more muscle mass. “The more muscle you have, the harder your body works to burn calories at rest,” she says. Consider it a bonus for all your hard work!
- It gives you more energy and strength to do what you love.
Strength training not only improves body composition, which is good for your health, but it also improves other aspects of your life, says Erica Suter.
“Maybe you’re a runner and don’t want to have sore legs at the end of a race. Or maybe you play a team sport and want to get faster,” she says. “Either way, strength training makes you more resilient in everyday life.”
- It gives you more confidence.
Let’s face it: resistance training is hard work and forces you to perform at extremes. But it’s definitely worth it because you feel so good afterwards, says Erica Suter.
“There’s nothing more motivating than pulling yourself up properly for the first time or doing a perfect push-up. Strength training is a great way to achieve performance goals,” she says.