1. It helps you to burn more calories
Strength training makes your body burn more calories immediately after a workout.
Specifically, your body continues to burn an extra 100 calories throughout the day following an hour of weight training, which can add up to 400 extra calories burnt over seven days if you do strength training four times a week.
In addition, this type of exercise gives a long-term boost to your metabolism, as the use and maintenance of muscle cells requires more energy than the use and maintenance of fat cells.
This means that building muscle mass increases what is called your basal metabolism, which determines how many calories you burn at rest.
2. It reduces your risk of developing diabetes
Approximately 14 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes, causing symptoms such as increased urination, excessive thirst, lethargy and blurred vision.
Left untreated, it can damage almost every organ in your body, often leading to complications related to your kidneys or heart.
Studies have shown that regular strength training at a moderate intensity helps to prevent type 2 diabetes.
As lifting weights builds muscle mass, this process enhances the way that the body processes sugar. The stronger you become, the more effectively your body controls blood glucose levels. Further, if you already have type 2 diabetes then regularly lifting weights may improve your quality of life.
3. It helps to make you look slimmer
Although aerobic exercise is often touted as the ideal solution for people who want to cultivate a slimmer figure, it is much better to lose inches from your waist and hips while gaining muscle mass.
If you lift weights at least twice a week, you could find that your overall body fat percentage reduces by around 3% after just a couple of months.
As a bonus, regularly doing strength training will change your posture in a way that creates a slimmer look.
4. It makes daily life easier
When you improve the condition of your muscles, many of everyday tasks will suddenly feel a lot less strenuous.
Here are some examples of common activities that immediately become less stressful:
- Carrying heavy bags of groceries
- Lifting, carrying and playing with children
- Climbing several flights of stairs to reach your office or apartment
- Vacuuming, mopping or sweeping the floors
- Reaching overhead to put items into cupboards
- Pushing a stroller around town
- Pulling or carrying a suitcase
- Walking up a steep hill
- Ironing clothes
- Decorating a room
5. It improves heart health
Cardiologists agree that strength training is one of the best ways to enhance cardiovascular health and protect your body against heart disease.
Strength training may lower your blood pressure. For example, one recent study found that regularly lifting weights could produce up to a 20% drop in blood pressure levels.
There is some compelling evidence that lifting weights may help to reduce levels of LDL (i.e. ‘bad’ cholesterol), high concentrations of which are correlated with a greater heart disease risk.
Strength training also reduces your level of C-reactive protein (which is a stress maker related to inflammation) and improves blood flow.
6. Older adults can also benefit
You should be encouraged to start strength training no matter what age you are.
While older adults need to be more careful about damaging their bodies, discussing strength training with a doctor will help to make sure that a safe but effective workout plan is designed.
Some research even suggests that adults who regularly lift weights are as much as 40% less likely to fall, which reduces the likelihood of serious physical injuries.
In addition, some promising recent studies have found that frequent strength training can reduce the bone and muscle loss normally associated with aging.
7. Your general quality of life could improve
Regularly lifting weights may influence mood, sleep, and levels of chronic pain.
One study involving a group of men revealed a 5% increase in quality of sleep after taking part in a strength training program. Participants felt more rested after waking, and woke up less often during the night.
A team at Harvard has found that just ten weeks of regular strength training is on a par with counseling when it comes to reducing the major symptoms of depression.
Strength training is an invaluable element of any attempt to improve fitness and lose weight.