10 Strength Training Benefits You Need to Know
Become healthier, leaner, and stronger
Would you like to burn more calories, lose body fat, and gain lean muscle? Strength training is the way to go. This is an integral part of a healthy fitness program. This type of exercise involves the use of major muscle groups to accomplish a specific objective, including squats and weightlifting.
I used to avoid strength training thinking I could get more results by doing cardio. My body has transformed since I adopted it (biceps and obliques, oh my!) and I am in better physical shape.
Although strength training results in a more toned body, the health benefits don’t stop there. You don’t even need to use dumbbells to be able to experience these benefits.
Strength training encompasses exercises using your own bodyweight, equipment, and free weights. Exercises using resistance training bands, Pilates, and TRX are all considered strength training.
Essentially, you have several choices. That may be one of the reasons individuals are changing their views about strength training.
Since increasing evidence supports the many benefits of strength training, it has become a vital component of almost every exercise program. Perhaps you’ve wondered what strength training can do for you.
Here are 10 reasons why strength training is so beneficial
1. Help you lose weight
Strength training increases your muscle mass and metabolism, both of which support fat loss. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
It is recommended that adults do strength training twice a week for beginners, three to four times a week for intermediate lifters and four to five times a week for advanced lifters. This can help improve overall health and body composition—plus it’ll make you stronger and leaner in the process.
2. Reduce back pain and improve posture
Strength training exercises such as squats strengthen your bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments—all of which support healthy posture—and they also reduce stress on joints (which often leads to pain).
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people stop exercising, but building strength can make a huge difference in how much it hurts to get fit or stay fit over time. To be clear: If you have severe back pain or sciatica symptoms, see a doctor before trying any exercise program (including strength training).
But if your back pain stems from muscle group tension, and it’s not severe, strength training may help.
3. Improve your balance and coordination
When you get stronger, you’re able to move more efficiently and safely. This helps you maintain balance and stability as you age, and it can also prevent falls in people who are at risk for them.
These falls are the leading cause of injury among women aged 50 years or older—and a quarter of those injuries result in a serious medical event, like a hospitalization or death. It is also noted that regular strength training is one of the best ways to prevent falls among this population.
4. Help prevent injuries during other types of exercise—and during daily life
Strength training makes your muscles stronger so they can better support your joints throughout the day—which means they’re less likely to be injured in an activity (or while sitting at your desk).
This also helps improve posture, which makes it easier to move around without straining your body unnecessarily as you go about your day-to-day activities (like carrying groceries or lifting children).
5. Improve your cardiovascular health
Strength training improves your cardiovascular fitness by increasing the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches your muscles (which helps them perform better). This is especially beneficial in older women, who tend to have more frail bones and less lean muscle mass than younger women—and who are also more likely to have heart disease or other conditions that can be improved by a regular exercise program.
It’s also been shown to lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar and blood pressure control and even boost mood (which is especially helpful for anyone who’s had a stroke or heart attack).
6. Makes you look better (and it makes clothes fit better)
If you want to look good naked—or if you just want clothes to fit better—strength training is one of the best ways to do it. Stronger muscles make it easier for your body to burn fat, which helps improve overall fitness and body composition. It also creates a solid foundation for healthy posture, which makes you look good even when you’re not at the gym.
7. Improve your sex life
For women, it can help improve their sexual response and orgasm intensity (which is an added bonus for anyone who wants to experience more pleasure during sex).
And very beneficial for your husbands or boyfriends as this exercise increases muscle mass can improve erectile function, helping them get and keep an erection longer—which can be especially helpful if they’ve had issues in the past.
8. Prevent osteoporosis and age-related muscle loss
Strength training helps your bones stay strong by increasing bone density and reducing the risk of fractures. It also helps prevent age-related muscle cells loss (sarcopenia), which is a natural part of the ageing process that makes it harder for your body to move as well as it used to—and makes daily tasks like carrying groceries or climbing stairs even more difficult than they already are.
9. Improve your mood (and help you sleep better)
If you’re feeling stressed out, anxious or constantly fatigued, strength training can help at least. In fact, “strength-based exercise” was one of four categories researchers found had the most significant benefits on mood and energy levels among study participants who exercised regularly.
Workouts involving cardio also had positive effects on sleep quality—and strength training helped with energy levels and mood as well as muscle strength and endurance overall.
10. Help relieve depression
Strength training has been shown to improve self-esteem, mood and overall mental health, according to a study published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research in 2006. And that’s good news for anyone who deals with depression, as well as anxiety or other mood disorders:
Strength training has also been shown to reduce symptoms of those conditions as well as symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Plus, it can help boost brain health.