Strength Training Can Improve Your Life
Exercise. It’s crazy to think how one unassuming (well, not entirely) word holds so much weight, yet is overlooked most of the time. After all, what word can both incite excitement and scoffs from people who couldn’t be bothered to do it in the first place? The mere mention of it is enough to make you roll your eyes, let alone get you on your feet and jogging outside. So why do it? I’m not overweight, nor am I underweight, so do I need it?
Why strength training is important
The answer will always be yes. For the simple reason that wherever you are right now physically, and to some extent mentally, can easily be improved with good old-fashioned exercise.
Regular physical exercise promotes general good health, decreases the risk of a wide array of diseases, and overall helps you lead a longer, better life. In fact, any type of physical activity is better than being sedentary.
However, one recent study explores how one type of exercise can help you maintain a generally positive outlook as you age, as well as keep you sharp all the time. The exercise in question? Resistance training.
Often overlooked when it comes to value, strength-building exercises (such as those that involve using weights to build strength and increase muscle mass) are actually critical to make sure your ability to do the most ordinary daily activities is preserved.
But enough rambling, here are 5 actual ways that strength training can improve your quality of life.
1. Build muscle mass and strength
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit that strength training can give you, provided you’re consistent enough. And it’s not just for show as well, as consistently working can yield long-lasting benefits that you can reap as you get older.
This is because as a person ages, losing some strength and muscle mass is inevitable. While you can’t completely fight it, strength training is easily the best way to combat strength loss over time, and keep your body strong and performing even as you reach your golden years.
Additionally, strength training also goes well beyond the muscle and can help increase bone density, reducing the risk of fracture and injury, as well as other bone-related diseases. Further studies also state that increased endurance is also a benefit.
For example, adding a pair of ankle weights to your exercise program is a perfect way to help increase endurance and strength.
2. Boost your metabolism and fat loss
This may come off as a surprise to some, but strength training can also do so much more than help you bulk up and get ripped, it can also help you with fat loss and maintain a steady weight.
Essentially, strength training can help you alter your metabolism because you’re essentially burning more calories if you have more muscle.
And since it’s an active tissue, it actually burns more energy at rest as compared to fat, which can help change your body’s composition.
3. Improves over heart health and regulates insulin
Of course, it’s not a secret that exercise is generally good for your health. What’s not generally known, however, is that strength training can help improve your overall cardiovascular health, with some training shown to help lower one’s blood pressure over time.
In fact, it’s becoming more recognized that heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other “classic chronic diseases” aren’t as likely for people who engage in activities such as strength training and cardio.
One of the reasons is because strength training can help you burn through glucose, which is good news for those who are in constant need to manage their overall blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, the American Heart Association also recommends both muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities as part of a daily or weekly routine to help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, which can result in healthy hearts.
4. Bring balance and maintain mobility
Not only does weight/strength training help you pick up heavy objects as you start gaining muscle mass, but it can also significantly increase your physical balance.
That’s because as one age, it becomes increasingly easy to lose your balance and fall, which can lead to serious injuries. A simple remedy to this is improving your balance with weight training, which can help prevent any trips or falls.
Furthermore, it can also help you keep your muscle functions in line with those much younger than you, letting you preserve your overall mobility and independence even as you age.
5. Ward off depression and improve your mental health
Perhaps the least known benefit of exercise, weight training can actually help one improve their overall mental health, which includes their mood, general outlook, and even sleeping patterns.
In fact, research by the University of Limerick states that lifting weights is associated “with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.”
The researchers then went on to conclude that strength training can be used as a substitute for (or addition to) therapy for mental health problems such as depression.
Of course, the authors noted that further research is needed to confirm whether resistance training is as effective as medication, though hitting the weights to improve your state of mind is always a good suggestion.
And if anything, strength training is empowering and can act as a confidence boost, which is satisfying in itself already.
So there you go, 5 of the most common ways that strength/resistance training can positively impact your lifestyle and help you lead a better, healthier, and longer life. Of course, you don’t have to go all-in and try to carry the heaviest dumbbell you can the next time you hit the gyms.
It’s important to have discipline and to slowly ease your way into your program, keeping in mind that the best things all take time.
It’s also important to pay attention in order to reduce the risk of injury. Start small, take note of the proper form, and gradually work your way up.
Stay consistent and focused, but most of all, have fun! Getting healthy isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be miserable!