The Hidden Benefits of Weight Lifting
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA
Many people associate weight training (resistance training) with bodybuilding and do not recognize the importance of weight training for health. Weight training has a multitude of important health benefits besides improving muscle size, muscle tone, muscle density and reducing body fat.
Weight training also has many important health benefits that many people do not attribute to weight training. By incorporating weight training into your daily routine you can not only look better, feel better, but you can reduce your risk to many life shortening other diseases and conditions.
Research shows that resistance exercise (weightlifting) is associated with improvements in all of the following:
So, if you thought weight training was all about show, now you know it is also about health. So get out there and "pump some iron" today!!
- Energy. Weight training can increase your energy.
- Body fat. Weight training increase lean muscle. More lean muscle means a higher resting metabolic rate which can decrease stored body fat.
- Muscular strength. Weight training increase muscular strength.
- Muscle endurance. Weight training increase muscular endurance.
- Sarcopenia (loss of muscle as we age). Weight training can slow the loss of muscle associated with the natural aging process (sarcopenia).
- Low back pain. Weight training can strengthen the muscles in the lower back, increase flexibility of the lower back and also increase core strength. lack of core strength is one of the primary contributors to low back pain.
- Balance, coordination and posture. Weight training improves balance, coordination and posture through improvements in muscle strength, muscle tone, muscle flexibility and muscle density.
- Functional capacity and ability (falling, climbing stairs). Several studies show that weight training can improve core strength, balance and muscle stability, reducing the risk of falls and fractures.
- Resting metabolic rate. Weight training can reverse the natural decline in your resting metabolism which begins around age 30.
- Insulin Resistance. Several studies show that weight training can improve Insulin resistance. Improving insulin resistance reduces your risk for metabolic syndrome and can help prevent type 2 diabetes
- Glucose metabolism. Several studies show that weight training can improve glucose metabolism which can be beneficial in the managing of diabetes, and the preventing of type 2 diabetes.
- Heart rate. Weight training lowers your resting heart rate, a sign of a more efficient heart.
- Blood pressure. Weight training decreases your resting blood pressure and reduce high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Food metabolism. Weight training decreases your gastrointestinal transit time. This can reduce the risk for developing colon cancer and other diseases associated with toxin absorption through the GI tract.
- Blood cholesterol levels. Weight training has shown to have a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels (lowers LDL and raises HDL).
- Flexibility. Weight training when combined with stretching can increase overall flexibility and reduce the risk of muscle pulls and injuries.
- Osteoporosis (bone density). Weight training strengthens your bones reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures.
- Osteoarthritis. Weight training can improve mobility and decrease symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
- Immune system. Weight training improves the functioning of your immune system and can reduce your risk for colds, flu and other diseases and conditions.
- Psychological well-being/Mood. Weight training has shown to increase chemical hormones in the brain that can improve mood and increase your sense of well being. Weight training has shown to reduce stress and improve symptoms of depression.
- Sleeping. Weight training reduces stress and increases hormones that are conducive to improvements in sleep.