4 Great Benefits of Resistance Training
Resistance training… What is it?
The American College of Sports Medicine defines ‘resistance training’ as:
A form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or muscle group against external resistance.
You can do resistance training can by lifting traditional dumbells or barbells. Other fun options are:
- •rubber tubing
- •weight machines
- •kettle bells
You can also use your own body weight; think of push-ups, a great option!
There are a host of benefits to weight training. In this article, I’m going to cover a few that are important.
1. Resistance training is medicine!
A study done by the Department of Exercise Science, Quincy College, found:
- In ten short weeks, resistance training may increase lean body weight by 1.4 kilograms (about 3 pounds)!
That same ten weeks can increase resting metabolic rate by 7% and reduce fat tissue by 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds)!
Those are some impressive numbers for a short period of time!
So what health benefits popped up for the folks in the study?
- •Improved physical performance
- •Better movement control
- •Increased walking speed
- •Functional independence
Lets’ get down to the big health benefits!
Resistance training can help in the prevention and maintenance of type 2 diabetes by:
- •Reducing visceral fat
- •Reducing HbA1c, glycated haemoglobin (A1c), which identifies average plasma glucose concentration
- •And improving insulin sensitivity.
Resistance training may improve cardiovascular health, by:
- •Reducing resting blood pressure
- •Decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL – ‘bad cholesterol)
- •Lowering triglycerides
- •And increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL – good cholesterol).
Furthermore, resistance training can be effective for:
- •Reducing low back pain and easing discomfort associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia
- •And can reverse specific aging factors in skeletal muscle.
It’s science – resistance training helps with age related an diet-related disease!
2. Resistance training reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Most of us know that strength training builds muscle strength and muscle mass. What you may not know is that it can build strong bones as well.
As we age, a combination of hormonal changes, lack of exercise and inadequate nutrition can deplete bone mass.
- In fact, we lose bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after age 40.
Osteoporosis is rampant in the U.S.
According to Harvard Health:
An estimated 8 million women and 2 million men in the United States have osteoporosis.
Yikes! That’s quite a statistic!
Worse yet, osteoporosis is responsible for more than two million fractures each year.
Six out of 10 people who break a hip will never regain their former level of independence. I have seen this in my own life. A broken hip was the first step to my dad’s decline and death.
Scads of studies have shown that strength training slows bone loss. In fact, resistance training may promote bone development.
Studies show a 1% to 3% increase in bone mineral density with strength training.
This is a big deal if you are trying to ward off bone loss!
Activities that put stress on bones can push bone-forming cells into action. The stress that comes from pulling and pushing weight, builds bone mass.
Weight training targets hips, think of squats. It also targets wrists, think of chest presses. These are all areas that are likely to break during a fall. Weight training also strengthens the core, giving you better balance.
Better balance = reduce risk of falling and injury.
3. Resistance training improves resting metabolic rate.
- Did you know that inactive adults lose 3 – 8% muscle mass per decade?
Yes, it’s a fact. Because of this loss in muscle mass, there is a reduction in resting metabolic rate and an increase in fat.
Haven’t you ever heard a friend say:
- ‘Gee, I don’t know what happened? I never used to put on weight this way when I was younger?’
Less muscle structure = slower metabolism. Therein lies the propensity to put on weight.
Weight training can help! Improved metabolic rate is an indirect benefit of weight training. When you weight train, you build muscle. Muscle utilizes more calories per pound than a pound of fat.
Luis Alonso, NASM elite trainer says it best:
By taxing your muscles with an external stimulus such as strength training with weights, your muscles will not only look better, but also increase your body’s ability to burn fat at rest.
The reason for this is because trained muscles require much more energy from the body.
They have developed a higher amount of fat-burning mitochondria in the cells, as well as the ability to store more fuel for quick energy production in the form of glycogen, which is a form of stored sugar; this translates into fewer calories that could otherwise be stored in the body as fat!
Mitochondria are like little energy producing engines in our cells. They are responsible for turning food into usable energy, among other things. More fat burning mitochondia = a leaner healthier you.
4. Resistance improves mental health!
According to Dr. Patrick J. O’ Connor, Mathew P. Herring and Amanda Caravalho at The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine:
- •15% of the U.S. population reports frequent anxiety symptoms lasting 15–30 days a month.
From seven studies, O’ Connor and his colleagues did, they concluded:
- •Moderate intensity resistance training is a meaningful intervention for people suffering from anxiety.
Of the 7 studies, 2 tested intense resistance training versus moderate resistance training.
- •They found moderate resistance training was more helpful in anxiety reduction.
The same group did four studies on the effect of resistance training on adults diagnosed as clinically depressed.
The results are unanimous!
- •Resistance training participation is linked to large reductions in depression.
Getting yourself into the gym isn’t only about how it can make you LOOK! Resistance training has serious health benefits that last in into your 80’s! After all look at trainers such as Ernestine Shepard, who turned 80 years young this year! Or Andreas Cahling who did his first competition in 1969 and placed 1st in the over 60 group in 2016.
If you want to look and FEEL good – start weight training! Look for the inspiration that will help you and get busy!
Quick Take Aways:
- •Resistance training helps with age-related and diet-related disease. It makes you healthier!
- •Resistance training reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It can also help you increase your bone density.
- •Resistance training can help you stay lean by increasing your lean tissue.
- •More lean tissue increases your metabolic rate which equals a leaner healthier you!
- •Resistance training reduces anxiety and depression.