Most of us define exercise as simply walking, running, or jogging. Basically, any time of activity that gets the heart pumping is considered a form of exercise.
If you want to achieve overall good health and be free from all risks of different kinds of diseases, one way to do it is through strength training.
However, the value of strength training exercises has been overlooked many times. As a result, many people in their old age become prone to different types of health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and diabetes, to name a few.
According to Dr. Robert Schreiber, doing aerobic exercise and weight training is not enough. But with strength training, you will become stronger and more functional.
One of the perks of strength training is it encompasses free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, and ankle cuffs and vests.
For beginners, it only takes 20 minutes of strength training per day. Buying equipment is also optional. The only thing to keep in mind is to be consistent.
If you’re interested to know more about the 10 health benefits of strength training exercises, keep reading.
10 Ways Strength Training Makes You Live Longer and Better
1. Increases lean muscle mass
If you’re looking for a healthier way to build lean muscle mass without counting calories or spending countless hours in the gym, strength training is one technique.
Not only will you increase your muscle mass, but muscle-strengthening activities will also keep your metabolic rate up.
Having more muscle can lead to longer and intense workout sessions, which can improve the calories being burned.
According to sports dietitian Marie Spano, gaining lean muscle mass through strength training means you can do more, like work out harder and hike steeper trails. This can also lead to an increase in burning calories.
2. Strengthens bones
As we age, our bone density becomes more fragile. However, strength training can help reduce the risk of fractures and increase bone density.
According to research, osteoporosis concerns over 75 million people in the USA, Japan, and Europe, with more than 8.9 million fractures worldwide.
Another study says that adults who do not exercise or train for strength may experience up to a 3% decrease in bone mineral density every year. However, it could increase by 3% with the help of strength training.
3. Helps make joints flexible
If you suffer from arthritis, doing strength training might help reduce the symptoms and help your joints become more flexible.
Twenty years of research have discovered that strength training can be as effective as stretching your body to improve your flexibility.
A team of researchers from the University of Porto in Portugal has also studied 11 qualified studies and found that strength training can increase joint range of motion.
4. Controls body weight
Strength training helps you burn calories a lot easier, which can also help you easily control your weight.
Whether you’re aiming to lose weight or gain weight, resistance training and using weight machines is one way to help manage your body weight.
Strength training can also help enhance your quality of life and enhance your ability to do basic daily activities.
5. Increases balance
Balance can help impact our daily lives in so many ways. Without it, we can not do simple and daily activities such as walking or standing for long periods.
Usually, balance can be achieved by developing a strong core, which is the body’s center of mass.
If you’re having trouble keeping your balance or falling often, one way to manage this is by doing strength training.
Doing core building exercises and poses can help you maintain your balance and prevent you from falling, which can eventually lead to injuries.
6. Boosts metabolic rate
Strength training increases your body’s metabolic rate. In return, it protects you from health conditions that accompany it, such as obesity. This works in two ways: acutely and chronically.
Acutely, strength training requires energy-intensive re-modeling, causing microtrauma. This ends up in small injuries to the muscle’s connective tissues and fiber used, which the body then will have to “fix”. This is called “re-modeling” and for it to be carried out, it needs a bit of energy.
While chronically, you can achieve an increase in muscle mass through properly performed resistance training. However, this requires more energy for ongoing maintenance. In return, your body’s metabolic rate increases.
7. Improves physical function
Strength training prevents you from gradually having difficulty performing basic daily activities like picking up things, walking, or getting out of your chair as you age.
Some of the positive effects of strength training not only contribute to our muscles but to our body fat levels as well.
According to research, some of the health benefits include slowing down and reversing many negative consequences of inactive aging such as walking speed, movement control, functional abilities, and physical performance.
8. Improves cardiovascular health
Many risk factors can cause cardiovascular diseases like obesity and Type 2 diabetes, to name a few. However, the good news is there is something we can do about it.
According to research, strength training can help manage obesity and decrease fat mass.
Studies have also shown that it reduces visceral and abdominal fat, which can help you lose weight.
On the other hand, resistance training can also prevent you from having Type 2 diabetes, which is another type of cardiovascular disease.
9. Reduces blood pressure
If you or someone you know suffers from blood pressure, strength training can help reduce it. Without proper exercise and treatment, this could lead to strokes, heart attacks, and other life-threatening problems.
Luckily, many studies have discovered that at least two months of consistent strength training or resistance training can reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
10. Manages chronic pain
Chronic pain is a public health problem, which can last over 12 weeks.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2011, chronic pain’s currency in the United States was estimated to be close to 116 million.
Approximately, this means that half of all American adults live with chronic pain.
With the help of strength training, you can treat several types of chronic pain such as osteoarthritis, low back, and fibromyalgia pain.
Strength training promotes a lot of positive effects and benefits to one’s health. According to experts, aerobic exercise and weight training are not enough to keep your body healthy.
However, doing resistance training can help you prevent suffering from cardiovascular diseases, increase your bone density, and so much more.
Resistance training can also help you lose body fat and manage your weight. To put it simply, resistance training includes more health benefits than aerobic exercise. So if you’re looking for motivation to start strength training, this is your sign.
If you liked this article, you might want to read our other articles at ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.