Health Benefits of Weight Lifting

If there was an activity that could improve your mood, increase your confidence and improve your overall physical health, wouldn’t you be doing it? Strength training does all of those things and more. Nearly 28% of Americans are inactive and half of all people who begin an exercise regimen will quit within the first three months (1). When you begin a exercise regimen, it is important to frequently remind yourself of all of the health benefits you are reaping when you continue exercise. No one wants to find themselves falling into those alarming statistics. According to another study, inactive adults lose 3-8% of overall muscle tone with each year of a sedentary lifestyle (2).

Benefits of weight lifting

  1. Improved Mood and Mental Health– This is perhaps the most immediate benefit of beginning a strength training program. In a 2018 study, candidates who experienced mild to moderate depression reported significant decrease in those symptoms after just 1-2 weight lifting sessions (3). The mechanism for decreasing these symptoms is unclear, but some experts believe it is congruent with the outcomes of cognitive therapy. Strength training can both immediately boost your mood, but it also will give you a long-term sens of  confidence, accomplishment and empowerment.
  2. Improves bone health and decreases risk of injury– Did you know that milk and calcium supplements do not impact your bone health after your childhood years? At best, calcium supplements may slightly decrease risk of fractures, but the evidence is weak (4). Calcium supplements may actual increase your risk of kidney stones, gastrointestinal dysfunction and cardiovascular event (5). Strength training has a much more profound effect on bone strength and density than calcium supplements. It is particularly helpful to people suffering from osteoporosis according to science (6). Strength training for everyone, especially in the elderly:
    • improves your reflexes
    • increases motor function
    • enhances bone protection
    • prevents falls and injuries
    • effects ability to perform activities of daily living (climbing stairs, lifting kids, ect.)
  3. Improves heart health– Years ago experts thought weight lifting caused strain to the cardiovascular system. However, updated research shows light to moderate resistance training with a higher number of repetitions can significantly improve your overall heart health through several different mechanisms. In fact, it is actually an integral part of supervised cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients who have suffered cardiovascular events such as a myocardial infarction (9). With other lifestyle choices such as healthy diet and aerobic exercise, some of these benefits include:
    • Increased blood circulation (10)
    • Decreased low-density cholesterol and plaque build up within the arteries (11)
    • Improved insulin response and glucose tolerance (12)
    • Significantly lowers blood pressure (13)
  4. Revs up metabolism– Strength training will not only burn lots of calories while you are exercising, it can actually boost your resting metabolic rate (calories burned at rest) up to 7% (14). This is due to the fact that muscle weight burns significantly more calories than fat. One pound of muscle uses about 50 calories per day versus fat which only burns about 3 calories per day. Other things that you can do to help boost your metabolism include:
    • Eating plenty of protein after your workout
    • Drinking more cold water
    • Doing a cardio workout a few times a week
  5. Improve sleep quality and quantity- People who lift weights report falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer. This is because muscle growth and sleep are interdependent. Appropriate amounts of physical activity can actually help regulate your body to an optimal sleep cycle.
  6. Increase Productiveness- Finishing a weight lifting session will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Studies find that mental firepower is directly related to our physical regimen (14).

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