There are a lot of questions when it comes to the benefits of weight training.
In this article, we discuss 8 benefits of weight training, looking at how it can be used as a weight loss tool.
We look at how it can boost strength, endurance and energy and a whole lot more.
Let’s get started!
8 Benefits Of Weight Training
- Effective Weight Loss Tool
- Manages Chronic Conditions
- Increases Strength and Endurance Improving Quality Of Life
- Promotes Good Sleep
- Improves Posture And Balance
- Delays the Signs of Aging
- Empowers Mentally and Emotionally
Do you think that weight training is mostly for people who want to build big bulky muscles and do weird-looking poses on a stage while all oiled-up?
Perhaps you associate it with narcissistic men and women who have nothing better to do than lifting heavy objects to build an excessive amount of muscle mass that serves no other purpose than to satisfy their vanity.
Or maybe you are just convinced that doing weight training would be a complete waste of your time.
If any of those resonates with you (even just a tiny bit), then this should hopefully prove you otherwise.
Weight training is truly for everyone.
Age or gender really do no matter because everyone can benefit greatly from it! If you are in the better half of your life there is even more reason to do weight training.
Below I have listed 8 powerful benefits of weight training and I see no reason why you should not be enjoying them.
I feel It is time to put old weight training myths and prejudices where they belong…
… And that is in the trash!Join the conversation - Here are 8 Benefits of Weight Training Click To Tweet
Effective Weight Loss Tool
Everyone knows that aerobics and cardiovascular exercise can be an effective way to increase calories burned which can potentially help you shed off those excess pounds.
But weight training can also help you achieve your target weight and have additional benefits to your efforts that cardio alone does not have.
Besides the calories you burn from lifting the weights, the muscle you build also increase your overall energy expenditure a.k.a. basal metabolic rate (BMR).
This is because muscle tissue costs energy to maintain, and recovering muscles might even require more.
But before you start daydreaming about your muscles turning into calorie-burning factories shredding off all your unwanted fat while you are watching Netflix, please know that the effect is not so big.
You should mostly think about it as a small perk.
The real reason why I think that weight training should be a part of anyone’s weight loss efforts is that it is basically an insurance policy against the potential muscle breakdown that can occur.
If you are restricting calories to burn off fat, there is the risk that your body will burn both muscle and fat for energy especially when we are talking about long periods.
But not if you are lifting some heavy weights! You can think about it like signalling to the body that your muscle is required and should not be used for energy.
Common reasons for losing muscle while restricting calories include: cutting calories too low, low protein intake, and just being sedentary in general.
For an effective weight loss approach, I recommend the combination of a moderate calorie restriction, weight training, and relaxing steady-state cardio like walking.
The body is similar to a machine that is prone to wear and tear.
One of the things that can suffer as we age is bone mass and density.
Studies suggest that a combination of things lead to a loss of bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after the age of 40.
When the bones become porous and more fragile you also become more susceptible to fractures and worse things like osteoporosis.
To prevent your bones from losing their solid structure, you need to use them and maximize their power.
The saying “use it or lose it” also applies in the case of your bones.
Aerobics and other forms of exercise are great.
However, according to some experts resistance training (weight training) is one of the most effective ways to increase bone density and prevent bone loss.
Lifting weights offer a good type of stress that makes the bones stronger.
The tugging and pulling during your workout session stimulates the bone-forming cells called osteoblasts to keep on working.
By the way, it is not only the bones that become stronger.
The stimuli from lifting weights cause cells to regenerate and remodel. In time, the bones, along with the tendons, ligaments and supporting muscles, become healthier and stronger.
Manages Chronic Conditions
A large number of studies shows that regular weight training can slow down the progression of chronic diseases and reduce the severity of the symptoms experienced.
These include among other people suffering from cardiovascular disease, dyspnea, chronic fatigue, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and fibromyalgia.
Especially people suffering from diabetes have been seen to benefit well from weight training since it helps with insulin sensitivity and regulates blood sugar.
Weight training also seems to be able to lower chronic/systemic inflammation.
Although inflammation is a natural and necessary response within your body, too much of it all the time is not a good thing.
On an acute basis, lifting weights should actually cause some inflammation and is a part of the muscle recovering process.
But experts assume that on the long run inflammation is reduced indirectly since weight training can remedy the causes.
Scientific evidence is not so clear on this, but one study found that weight training caused a reduction of inflammatory markers in elderly women.
Weight training is also recommended as a method to help manage arthritis symptoms.
Increases Strength And Endurance Improving Quality Of Life
Strength and endurance are two terms commonly used in fitness and weight training is no exception.
Most of the time, training methods and techniques are focused on producing increases to one or the other and for weight training, it is usually the number of repetitions.
Do few repetitions lifting heavy weight and you should gain mostly strength.
Do many repetitions with lighter weight and you should gain mostly endurance.
However, working your muscles on a regular basis no matter the number of repetitions will lead to both increased strength and endurance, and you will want both since they each have an essential role in increasing your overall threshold before you fatigue at any strenuous activity.
Being able to sustain more force for a longer period of time has a huge impact on your overall quality of life and makes it so much easier for you to engage in all kinds of daily activities.
It is not only about the obvious tasks like lifting heavy furniture, mowing the grass yard, moving heavy boxes, cleaning the whole house, or carrying your toddler in the mall.
The hours you spend in the gym prepares you for the challenges that life will throw at you, it reduces the risk of injury and pain, and there is reassurance in knowing that builds self-confidence.
Simply put, weight training gives you the opportunity to enjoy more of life, for a longer time and with more energy.
If getting more energy sounds interesting to you, then you should check out these exercises.
After all, you are present in this world due to your physical body.
Better make that body a stronger and more energetic one, right?
Promotes Good Sleep
If you are often having problems falling asleep, then there is one more reason to do weight training!
Personally, the times I have problems falling asleep can be counted on one hand per year.
My wife, on the other hand (pun intended), often have problems falling asleep and she can be annoyed at how easy it is for me. However, when I finally got through to her and she committed to weight training, she did have fewer problems falling asleep.
Interestingly enough, some experts believe that the physical changes weight training creates could promote deeper quality sleeps.
When a person exercises, the body positively respond to it by reducing the stressors that contribute to insomnia like anxiety and depression.
Research in this area is sparse and not consistent, but one study conducted among older adults did show noticeable improvements to their quality of sleep.
I imagine the relationship between weight training and sleep as a two-way street.
While the workout allows you to rest well at night, high-quality sleep enables your muscles to recover from the day’s strenuous task.
With the two benefits combined, your body experiences heightened energy enough to keep you invigorated throughout the day.One of the many benefits of weight training is that it improves your posture. But how else can it benefit you?Click To Tweet
Improves Posture And Balance
Bad posture is a big concern for most people who live sedentary lives, but also for people with an active lifestyle.
A big part of the problem is the many hours we spend in awkward positions every day.
Did you ever see a person using his laptop, smartphone or tablet, who was not at least in some degree hunching over?
Over time this leads to problems for your neck and shoulders, and your whole upper body adapts.
Basically, some muscles become weak and overstretched while others become short and tight.
What often happens is that the shoulders round forwards and inwards, and the head gets stuck in a forward leaning position.
By the way, if you have these problems or suspect it, you should check out something I wrote on reversing rounded shoulders and forward head posture.
Another common issue is tight hips from sitting which can pull and rotate the spine.
Poor posture does not only look bad, but it has been associated with a long list of health risks and problems, including:
- mental fog and headaches
- poor breathing, digestion and blood circulation
- muscle stiffness and pain
- negative emotions
- increased wear and tear on joints, bones, and ligaments
You can read more about on mayoclinic.org.
Weight training can help reverse the muscular imbalances that your poor posture has caused, but it might not be enough if you don’t also try to become more aware of your posture and improve the ergonomics of your surroundings.
You want to fix both the cause and the symptom of poor posture.
Doing various weight training exercises also trains your “muscle to mind connection” enhancing your motor skills and balance.
Poor posture is something that I have personal experience with.
I had to fix my own posture problems, and I suspect my heavy laptop use was the main cause. If you prefer to use a laptop like me you should get a laptop stand and an external mouse and keyboard.
Delays The Signs Of Aging
Have you ever heard people saying something like “I’m 60 but I feel like I’m in my 30’s”?
Unless they are extremely genetically gifted or know about some secret fountain of youth, I bet those people are highly committed to physical activities – perhaps weight training?
With age comes wisdom, but it regrettably also leads to many negative changes like:
- metabolic slowdown, decrease in blood circulation and bodily functions
- decreased muscle and bone mass
- joint pains
- decreased energy levels
- negatively effects appearance in general
Weight training is an effective method to negate all of those and highly recommended because of this by health professionals.
A truly remarkable thing about weight training is that researchers have found that it has a positive effect on cell regeneration.
More specifically it helped retain length and activity of the telomeres that protect the chromosomes in your cells.
The shortening of telomeres is believed to play a key role in the ill effects of ageing, and you can read more about it here.
If you want to access the only real fountain of youth, then you need to engage in activities like weight training on a regular basis, and I believe it is better if you start while still young.
Furthermore, gaining some strength and endurance will make your life easier and help maintain your independence as you age.
Empowers Mentally And Emotionally
This might be something you have heard before since there is a lot of anecdotal evidence, but weight training can be a powerful tool to help build up your self-confidence.
A big part of that is building the body you are proud of and there is, of course, an element of vanity to that.
But I think it goes much beyond that.
It also teaches you to take responsibility for yourself and to put in a lot of hard effort and not to expect your reward until many months later (or even years for the very ambitious).
The experience of progressing towards a goal that is meaningful to you comes with a great deal of satisfaction and might affect your mindset on achieving things for the better.
Taking responsibility for yourself, increasing self-discipline and confidence in your own ability to achieve meaningful things have the potential to be completely transformational and spill-over to other important aspects of your life.
Besides empowering you to a higher level, weight training can also help alleviate things bringing you down.
In fact, weight training helps reduce anxiety and depression.
You might think I am cruising into “too good to be true territory” now, but there is strong scientific evidence to back it up.
You can read more about anxiety and weight training here.
Researchers have noted that performing weight training consistently reduced the symptoms of depression.
This applied to both people who have already suffered from depression and those who had not. You can read more about the findings on depression in this article from the New York Times.
Finally, lifting weights will also bring out the “feel good” brain chemicals called endorphins, which is also not too bad.
A Small Note On The Different Terms
Weight training, resistance training, strength training, weightlifting, and bodyweight training are all terms you will see often when navigating the online fitness space.
Each has their different nuance in meaning and/or execution, but it is really not important for the purpose of this article and all come with great benefits including the ones you see above.
In most cases, the terms can be used interchangeably.
It is really all about contracting your muscle against any kind of resistance with the purpose of increasing strength, muscle, and endurance.
That resistance could be heavy objects (weights), your own body, or special elastic bands.
What Is So Special About Weight Training Then?
Following any kind of resistance training program where you are able to progressively overload your muscles is extremely effective at building strength and muscle.
There are several things that determine whether you actually become stronger and build muscle, but in terms of training progressive overload seems to be the most important factor.
It simply means that you gradually increase the tension/stress on your muscles over the course of your training.
It can be done by adjusting many different variables from session to session, e.g. increasing the weight, reps, sets, exercises or frequency.
I think using weights (weight training) is your best choice if you want more than just “beginner strength” since programming your progression is simple and the exercises are relatively easy to do.
8 Benefits Of Weight Training – Takeaways
Hopefully, I have been able to convince you that weight training (or any resistance training) is for everyone and also something for you.
Starting out weight training for yourself can be as simple as finding a workout routine that has a solid progression and fits your schedule and “workout enthusiasm”.
In other words, something you can adhere to.
In my experience, 3 times per week seems to be a good number and the sweet spot for many.
Weight training does have some complicated concepts that are important to understand.
If you want fully optimized results and performance, but they are mostly irrelevant for beginners.
If you just stick to the routine and are able to gradually increase the weight you are doing great!
Perhaps one of the best routines to start out with as a beginner is in my opinion Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.
I have done it, my friends have done it and thousands if not tens of thousands of people have done it.
You can check it out here.
If you are interested in focusing mostly on building a great-looking body (many are, and I was too when I was “younger”), you should check out my review of a popular weight training program by Kinobody.
It also got thousands of success stories and I followed it myself for about 2 years. Please note that unlike Starting Strength it is not for free.
I want to finish this off with a personal reflection on why I think you should do weight training.
Above you have read many different benefits of weight training to seemingly non-related issues.
However, I suspect that the right way to understand it is that weight training is not a wondrous cure-all-solution, but rather that the lack of working your muscles is what causes many different issues.
I would argue that humans must have evolved to thrive in an environment where all muscles are worked against resistance on a daily basis.
And if that is removed we suffer as a consequence.
Instead of having to walk, crawl, climb and carry around things for hours every day, weight training can offer you similar but much more condensed form of stimuli and save you a ton of time.
That is all for now.
So do you follow a healthy lifestyle?
Is weight training and strength training part of your routine?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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