You know that lifting weights has some benefits, but do you actually know what they are? Find out the 12 most surprising benefits of strength training!
When people talk about the health effects of exercise, most of the time they mean aerobic activity.
You know, running, jogging, cycling, and swimming. All that boring stuff that has you doing some sort of repetitive motion over and over again.
I kid, I kid.
I meant, its not that boring.
In all seriousness, there is obviously nothing wrong with this. Aerobic exercise has long been considered the gold standard for improving health and function. In fact, simply incorporating some aerobic activity into your weekly schedule has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, help prevent obesity, and can even stave off a premature death.
Which is pretty damn positive.
But typically less discussed are the many benefits of strength training.
Like the bastard stepchild you leave outside on a cold Christmas morning, strength training is often ignored by the masses. Something left to meatheads who stroll around festivals wearing nothing but a bumbag and a pair of bright yellow short shorts (not that there is anything wrong with this sort of thing, of course).
Which is a shame, because beyond this, strength training offers a myriad of benefits for literally everyone on the planet.
Hence the reason I am shedding some light on the topic.
12 Surprising Benefits of Strength Training
In my personal opinion, strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body.
In terms of getting the most bang-for-your-buck from a health and performance perspective, it is incomparable.
With this in mind, I have gone ahead and outlined the 12 most surprising benefits of strength training for your reading pleasure.
1. Strength Training Improves Cardiovascular Health
Aerobic exercise rose to such great heights because of its impact on cardiovascular health. In this manner, it is often considered to be the most effective method of improving the health and function of the cardiovascular system, and staving off heart disease.
However, it certainly isn’t alone on top of this mountain.
There is a large body of evidence clearly demonstrating that regular strength training can improve the function of your arteries and veins, while also limiting your risk arterial plaque build up.
This means reductions in blood pressure, and a lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
2. Strength Training Prevents Diabetes
Strength training is arguably the most effective methods of improving metabolic health on the planet.
It directly impacts the muscle tissues ability to absorb, store, and use blood glucose, which does wonders for your blood sugar levels. Moreover, it also improves your sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is super important.
As a result, research has consistently shown that strength training offers a very potent way to prevent the onset of diabetes.
3. Strength Training Enhances Mental Health
One of the more unique benefits of strength training revolves around its ability to improve your mental health. A single bout of strength training can improve your mood and get you feeling better immediately.
But even more impressive are the long term effects.
Like I said, impressive.
4. Strength Training Helps Persistent Pain
Here at iNform, we pride ourselves on our ability to get people out of pain, and turn them into strong, functional, and physically confident human beings.
And strength training is a large part of this.
Strength training has shown time and time again to be one of the most effective treatments for persistent and chronic pain that we have available to us.
So why not use it?
5. Strength Training Staves Off Osteoporosis
Strength training is unique because it also loads the skeleton. As a result, it places your bones under mechanical stress, which stimulates an increase in bone growth.
With this in mind, strength training causes significant increases in your bone mineral density, which can go a very long way to staving off osteoporosis.
6. Strength Training Boosts Cognitive Function
I have already gone ahead and said that strength training makes you happier, but did you know it can also make you smarter?
Well, kind of…
Regular strength training has been shown to cause marked improvements in global cognitive function and ability, while also causing some small improvements in memory capabilities.
Talk about brain gains, bruh.
7. Strength Training Increases Quality of Life
As you age, your physical capacity deteriorates. Your ability to manage normal tasks of daily living worsens.
In short, life gets harder.
But it doesn’t have to.
You see, the vast majority of these changes occur due to a loss of strength. Which can easily be mitigated by regular strength training.
There is a very good reason as to why strength training has consistently been shown to improve functional capacity and quality of life – because it works, and it works very well (duh…).
8. Strength Training Helps You Live Longer
Whether it is due to the associated health benefits, the improvements in functional capacity, or the improvements in mood, we cant be sure. But for whatever reason, older adults who strength train on the regular appear to be 46% less likely of dying than those who do not.
I don’t know about you, but I like those odds.
9. Strength Training Makes Your Balance Better
Having adequate muscle strength is integral to stabilizing your body’s joints, and therefore maintaining your balance. Conversely, if you lose strength (as we tend to with inactive aging, for example), balance decreases, and you risk of falling increases .
Its not good.
However, strength training has been shown to reverse this phenomenon by improving your balance in a very big way.
I should also note that individualized strength training actually appears to offer a more effective way of improving balance than traditional balance-style training on wobble boards and other crazy contraptions.
So ditch the wobble board and pick up a dumbbell. Your body will thank you for it.
10. Strength Training Gets You Sleeping Better
I love sleep.
I hate not being able to get to sleep.
Like, a lot.
Fortunately, I have a very simple remedy.
Starting a regular strength training routine has been shown to cause huge improvements in sleep quality, and can even get you sleeping longer. This has obvious implications for your health, and your ability to function on a daily basis.
In summary, getting stronger = sleeping better.
11. Strength Training Promotes Fat Loss
Strength training increases the amount of muscle mass that you have on your body. Now, muscle tissue is known as active tissue because it actually burns energy to function.
To put it simply, the more muscle you have on your body, the more energy your burn every single day – irrespective of your actual exercise levels.
As a result, strength training has shown time and time again to be a very good way of promoting fat loss.
12. Strength Training Improves Endurance Performance
Last but not least, strength training has even been shown to improve endurance performance.
Most people who run marathons, or love hopping on the bike for long rides, often have the misconception that lifting weights will make them heavier, and therefore make them slower. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Strength training actually makes your muscular system more efficient, while also increasing the amount of force you can put into every stroke of the pedal, or every strike of the ground. In turn, it has been shown to improve your efficiency as both a runner and a cyclist.
This simply means that strength training makes you faster over long distances, not slower.
Take Home Message
Its a shame to think about all those people who have died in pursuit of the fountain of youth when it was under their nose the whole time. Yep, strength training.
With the ability to improve everything from heart health and cognitive function, all the way to endurance performance, it is hands down the most bang for your buck exercise modality on the planet.
So what are you waiting for?
Go pick up something heavy and put it down again – your body (and mind) will thank you for it.