Strength training is a fantastic way to boost your overall health and fitness levels. Not only can it help you build lean muscle, but it can also improve your bone density, boost your mood, improve your heart health, and even reduce your risk of injury. There are so many great reasons to lift weights that have nothing to do with weight loss!
1. Strength Training Makes You Stronger (duh)
It might seem really obvious, but let me explain why being stronger helps with your health. Stronger, more able muscle makes it easier for you to do activities of daily life and/or activities you enjoy! Practicing lifting, punching, pulling and other weight-bearing actions in the safety of a gym (and/or under the supervision of a trainer) will mean you’ll know how to do those movements safely in the real world with less risk of injury. So, think of strength training as preventative medicine!
Also, dense, strong muscles (lots of muscle fibers) have a positive effect on your metabolism. I’m not saying this in a “boost your metabolism for fat-burning sort of way” but because your metabolism is responsible for lots of basic functions, you know like:
Growing and repairing cells.
Managing hormone levels/regulations.
Regulating body temperature.
The better your metabolism functions, all these basic functions perform better too!
2. Builds and Strengthens Your Bones
Another great benefit of strength training is that it can help improve your bone density. As we age, our bones tend to become weaker, which can lead to an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Strength training, however, can help slow down this process by stimulating the growth of new bone cells. After age 30 we start losing lean muscle - up to 3 - 5% per decade. But the good news is that studies have shown that just 30 minutes twice a week of strength/resistance training was shown to improve bone density, structure, and bone strength. Which will keep you strong and able as you age!
3. Better Stability and Balance (as well as Proprioception)
Strength training improves your balance, coordination, posture, and proprioception. Balance is your muscle's ability to keep you on your feet, even when your center of gravity is off (i.e. bending over). Coordination is about brain and muscle timing (so, your neuromuscular system interacts with your muscular system). Basically, your brain tells your muscles when to fire and how. Sometimes it doesn’t fire correctly or quickly enough. Strength training improves this connection. Posture stronger muscles hold you up better, so you stand taller! Proprioception is your body’s ability to know where it is in space (i.e. how you know you’re upside down in the dark or can probably feed yourself in the dark - you use proprioception!) Strength training improves this ability because you get to know your body better.
4. Improves Your Heart Function
You don’t have to do “cardio” to improve you cardiovascular system - strength training can also do that! If you lift heavy (for you), you will definitely raise your heart rate without ever stepping foot on a cardio machine. Training your heart to be more efficient with exercise, can reduce you blood pressure and improve you heart’s ability to pump more efficiently.
5. Help You Manage Chronic Illness
Research has shown that strength training can also help ease symptoms in people with many chronic conditions. Millions of Americans manage chronic illness and strength training, for a wide variety of reasons, can support that management. Mainly due to all of the health benefits listed above, especially due to the positive benefits on your metabolism.
6. Boost Your Mood
You better believe that if pharmaceutical companies could bottle the positive hormonal effects of movement they would. Regular exercise, in general, has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and strength training is no different. By challenging yourself physically, you'll be able to release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. It can also boost your confidence and make you feel empowered!
So, if you're looking for a fun and effective way to improve your strength and health, strength training is definitely worth considering. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, there's always room for improvement, and the benefits are well worth the effort. Happy lifting!