When it comes to maintaining peak health and a desirable physique, the advantages of resistance training are myriad.
Yet, for many adults, physical activity is sporadic, with a substantial portion of life spent in front of screens.
Resistance training, involving moving muscles against challenging loads, emerges as a potential solution for a healthier lifestyle.
Uncertain about the benefits of lifting weights (or employing resistance bands or engaging in bodyweight exercises) a few times a week? Let’s delve into the merits of strength training.
1. Preventing Muscle Loss through Resistance Training
“As you age, your body begins to consume muscle tissue,” notes Cody Braun (CPT).
Known as muscle loss, this process commences around 30, with muscle mass dwindling at about 1% per year.
While the impact may not be apparent at 35 or 40, by 65, over a third of muscle mass could be lost, leading to weakness, a sluggish metabolism, and a decline in functionality in later years.
Resistance training proves to be the most effective method for preventing, and potentially reversing, muscle loss, ensuring vitality well into one’s 80s and beyond.
2. Incinerating Fat with Resistance Training
Similar to other forms of exercise, strength training burns calories during rest, gradually contributing to a leaner physique.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
“When you focus on building muscle, your metabolism increases,” emphasizes Braun. “With more metabolically active tissue – muscles – your body demands more calories for self-maintenance. This means that the more muscle you possess, the more calories you burn.”
A critical advantage of resistance training in weight loss efforts is its role in maintaining muscle mass during dieting. Without it, approximately half of the weight lost on a low-calorie diet could be muscle mass – a scenario best avoided.
3.Prolonging Longevity through Resistance Training
While cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure are vital indicators, leg strength and grip strength can wield equal influence in old age.
Recent studies suggest that the stronger your legs, the longer you might live.
This isn’t surprising, as the loss of functionality typically leads to a sharp decline in independence, health, and overall well-being.
One of the significant benefits of resistance training is the strengthening of muscles throughout life, promoting strength and functionality.
So, keep those muscles robust, and don’t forget to include leg exercises.
4.Maintaining Robust Bones with Resistance Training
Resistance training doesn’t solely focus on muscle building; it also stimulates bone growth and contraction in response to both movement and inactivity.
Most people reach peak bone mass in early adulthood, after which it gradually diminishes, significantly reducing bone density in mid to late adulthood.
In severe cases, osteoporosis – characterized by significant bone weakening – can occur in old age, increasing the susceptibility to fractures.
Resistance training can potentially reverse this process. Similar to how applying new stress to muscles induces growth, pressure on bones from resistance training – along with high-impact activities like jumping and hopping – leads to thicker and denser bones.
So, if a family history of bone loss is prevalent, or you’ve been informed of declining bone mass, it’s time to hit the weights.
5.Elevating Mood through Resistance Training
Depression affects over 300 million people globally, resulting in an annual loss of $118 billion in income.
Recent research suggests that weightlifting can contribute to alleviating depression.
Often referred to as the “most underutilized antidepressant,” exercise has long been considered beneficial in dispelling psychological distress.
A meta-analysis of over 2000 participants discovered that resistance training, regardless of significant strength or muscle mass gains, reduced the occurrence of depressive symptoms.
A similar outcome was observed in a 2017 study concerning anxiety symptoms.
Feeling down? Lift weights to lift those blues away.
6.Enhancing Physical Appearance through Resistance Training
Let’s not overlook one of the most pivotal benefits of weightlifting for many individuals: it can enhance your physical appearance.
Novice lifters (regardless of gender) often harbor the misconception that a few gym sessions will transform them into muscular bodybuilders.
This is a fallacy; visibly large muscles don’t manifest unintentionally.
Impressive biceps, thighs, and glutes that fill out jeans require years of focused effort. Moreover, only a minute fraction of individuals discovers they possess the genetics for it.
For women, getting bulky without intentional effort is nearly impossible.
On the contrary, resistance training will confer a leaner and more toned appearance. Your arms and legs will exhibit more shape and definition.
Your abdomen will appear flatter, and with some dietary adjustments, you might even uncover a couple of abs.
Your posture will improve, and soon you’ll exude the kind of confidence we all aspire to cultivate: a confidence marked by a head held high, proud self-assurance.