It’s often assumed that weight training is reserved only for those who want to gain muscle mass and achieve impressive biceps or abs of steel. The truth is that resistance training isn’t all about building as much muscle as possible.
Strength training offers a wealth of benefits for everyone, and it can play an integral role in aiding weight loss, increasing confidence and self-esteem, and improving your general health, as well as your physical fitness.
Both the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association recommends regular strength training for everybody for its health benefits. Weight training is championed by many personal trainers and is the main focus of Team Howell for many reasons.
If you have never tried it before and are scared of getting injured I would recommend to invest some time and money and hire an experienced coach to teach you the proper exercise form and establish a program that will help you achieve your goals.
Here are 11 benefits if strength traning to help you undertand why you should give it a try.
1. Fat reduction
Studies suggest that including resistance training in your weekly routine is more effective in building lean muscle and reducing body fat than cardio sessions alone. There are many research studies on the topic and even though results are not conlusive in all cases.
There is a trend however, that shows those who focus on strength training are able to change their body composition significantly compared to those who only engage in aerobic exercise. If your goal is to lose fat and build nice and toned muscles, you better start resistance training,
2. Heart health
Visceral fat is one of the most potent threats to heart health and it's harder to get rid of since it's found between your organs in your abdominal cavity, under your muscles. Think of the beer belly many people assume is just a sign of aging.
While it's more likely for middle-aged men and women to experience it, it's just as dangerous for anybody, even if not as apparent. Stregth training has shown to be more effective to break down visceral fat, even better in preventing before you to develop it.
3. Blood sugar stability
Weight training is often recommended for those who suffer from diabetes, as it helps to improve the ability of the muscles to use glucose, which contributes to better blood sugar stabilization.
4. Lower cancer risk
Research results suggest that visceral fat cells produce a protein called fibroblast-growth-factor 2 (FGF2), which is known to trigger cancer. More trials will be needed to prove it conclusively, but seems that overweight and obese people are at higher risk of developing some form of cancer. We have already discussed how strength training fights visceral fat more effectively.
5. Conditioning and injury prevention
Srength training is all about training your body to adapt to increased load by recruiting more neurons to stimulate muscle growth in order to handle the demand. This is how resistance training conditions your body to adapt by building more muscle so the next time you are under the same load your body can handle it better.
Improving muscle and joint strength will hep you perform in any physical activity, including sports, carrying heavy bags or climbing stairs and reduces the risk of injury. If the muscles are weak, this can apply additional stress and tension to the soft and connective tissue when moving in ways you are not used to, putting you at risk of injuries.
6. Mental health
Have you ever noticed that you feel great after a run or a bike ride? You can achieve the same natural high from a weight training session. Research conducted by a team at Harvard Medical School found that strength training improved mental health and resilience.
Repeatedly lifting or moving heavier weights than you thought you could will increase your confidence and eventually will transfer onto other areas of your life.
7. Increased flexibility and mobility
Strength training performed correctly and combined with accessory joint mobility and flexibility exercises will help your body to be more efficient not only in the gym, but in real life. Do you ever experience that trying to pick up something from the floor is a challenge due to your hips or lower back feeling tight? Resistance training can help you address that.
8. Confidence and body image
Strength training is proven to improve body image, self-esteem and confidence. Many people have reservations about the way they look, and this kind of training can improve the aesthetic of the body, as well as a person’s perception of how they look.
If this is something you can relate to, feel free to come in and have a commitment-free chat about your fitness goals with one of our trainers and explain how we help our clients overcome their struggles and feel empowered.
9. Strong, healthy bones
Exercises that are designed to strengthen the muscles also have incredible benefits for the bones. If you have strong bones, you’ll have a lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures as you start aging. Weight training has been shown very efficient in slowing down the body's aging process and preventing osteoporosis and other bone related health problems.
10. Brain power
Exercise can make you feel great, but it can also boost your brain power. A study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics revealed a noticeable improvement in cognitive ability in older people who undertook regular strength training sessions.
Research claims that grip strength is a more accurate indicator of life expectancy than your BMI. If you got this far in reading you will have a great understanding of how all this benefits add to a longer and better quality of life.
Have you been put off weight training because you don’t want to look too muscly or you’re worried about injuries? Strength training isn’t just about building muscle mass. There are multiple benefits you can enjoy without any worries about looking bulky.
Feel free to get in touch and learn more about how Team Howell uses strength training methods to help clients become stronger, fitter, leaner and overall happier.