As we all know, muscle burns fat! Strength training by lifting weights is the best way to build lean muscle mass to burn fat and get that ‘toned’ healthy look. And who doesn’t want that?
Keep in mind, if you’re consistently picking up a light weight for 20+ repetitions you will build muscular endurance, but you will never actually build tight, dense and strong muscles. If you want to look toned, strong and healthy, then eventually you will have to increase the weight and pick up heavy weights to build strength.
When you strength train, you are actually breaking down your muscles by tearing and ripping apart muscles fibers. It sounds bad.. but it’s actually good because following your workout session, your body works hard to rebuild those muscles and recruits more calories and energy to repair them. You experience this when your muscles are sore after a great workout! During this ‘after-burn’, your metabolism is working at a much higher level.. even long after your workout.
Here are 30 Scientifically-Backed Benefits Why YOU Should Strength Train:
- Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s. Research shows that twice-weekly resistance training, combined with aerobic exercise, can improve cognitive function in the elderly at risk for Alzheimer’s.
- Improve Your Mood. Strength training causes the brain to release feel-good endorphins, and researchers believe just 10 weeks of strength training could help fight depression better than counseling!
- Get Smarter. Research shows that weekly strength training is associated with higher GPA’s at one large Southern State University.
- Decrease Your Risk of Injury. Building strength can decrease your risk for certain injuries, like ACL tears, which women are more prone to than men.
- Sleep More Soundly. Research suggests that three days of strength training combined with two days of cardio can result in better sleep.
- Decrease Your Risk of Osteoporosis. Studies find that weight-bearing exercises improve bone density, reducing your risk for osteoporosis and preventing fractures in people with the disease.
- Relieve Stress. Weight training is better than cardio for reducing stress and feelings of irritability in people diagnosed with anxiety disorders, research suggests.
- Burn More Calories. Studies have shown that people who strength train burn more calories in the hours and days after a workout than they do when they haven’t lifted weights because of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
- Banish Belly Fat. Research shows that people who strength train burn more deep belly fat than those who just do cardio.
- Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes. Doing at least 2.5 hours of strength training per week can help lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes by causing muscles to use more glucose for energy, which can lower blood sugar levels, some research suggests.
- Lower Your Blood Pressure. Twelve weeks of strength training can help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure for people with high blood pressure.
- Carry Your Groceries with Ease. One study found that after 16 weeks of total body strength conditioning, the amount of strain put on the biceps when carrying a box of groceries decreased by 36 percent.
- Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease. Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease risk is lower when the whole body is leaner.
- Open Your Own Jars. Experts say improved handgrip strength is a marker of overall strength.
- Feel More Confident. Strength training is one of the most empowering things a person can do and increases the way you feel about your ability to complete tasks.
- Relieve Lower Back Pain. Regular full-body strength training can help ease chronic lower back pain, the most common musculoskeletal issue, even in people who already exercise, research suggests.
- Relieve Neck Pain. Research finds that strengthening the neck and shoulders can reduce neck pain from years spent hunching over a computer keyboard.
- Breath Easier. High-intensity strength training has been shown to improve VO2 Max, the maximum capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise.
- Improve Your Balance. Research suggests strength training with a light load can improve balance in 10 weeks.
- Lower Your Cholesterol. Research shows that just eight weeks of strength training can boost your HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol responsible for removing LDL (bad) cholesterol from the bloodstream.
- Run Faster. Studies suggest explosive and heavy weight lifting can help improve your 5K PR (personal record) by almost three percent.
- Boost Your Libido. Strength training increases testosterone, a hormone researchers have linked to boosting sex drive in women.
- Curb Cravings. Strength training has been found to lower levels of gherkin, a hunger-stimulating hormone found in the gut.
- Reduce Your Cancer Risk. Studies suggest strength training protects the body from oxidative stress, which researchers believe could contribute to the development of cancer.
- Boost Your Metabolism. Building muscle helps boost metabolism, so you can burn more calories long after your workout.
- Look More Toned. Strength training helps to build and preserve lean muscle, which creates that tight and toned look.
- Smooth Cellulite. Unlike creams that are all talk, experts say daily cardio combined with two to three strength training sessions can help diminish the appearance of cellulite.
- Stand Taller. Experts believe strengthening the core and lower back can improve posture.
- Improve Your Body Image. One study found significant improvements in body image after 12 weeks of strength training.
- Explore New Parts of the Gym. Strength training will give you a reason to venture out of the cardio room and into the weight room.
Now the question remains, are you incorporating strength training into your fitness program?
Cheers to health in life!
Adapted from a blog post by: Amanda Fitz