12 Benefits of Strength Training

12 Benefits of Strength Training

Before we even delve into the benefits of strength training, let’s talk about what strength training is.

Not all exercises are created equal.

Cardio exercises are exercises that usually involve you moving your whole body like running, walking, swimming or riding a bicycle.

This burns calories and everyone needs it. In fact, researchers recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise per week.

Strength training on the other hand works on a muscle group in your body is just as important as cardio exercise. Every time you perform a sit up, lift weights or do lunges, you are strength training.

The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice per week. 

12 benefits of strength training:

Lower belly fat

Because strength training targets a muscle group, you can work on specific muscle groups. If you would like to lose belly fat, strength training that targets that area will help you get there.

Better heart health

Strength training also affects your heart health. Adding them into your exercise routine keeps your routines interesting and works on that all important muscle called the heart.

Controls and improves blood sugar levels

In a study of 62 adults with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that strength training improved muscle sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Insulin is the hormone in humans that allows sugar molecules to enter into the cells of the body so the cells can use it for energy. In people with type 2 diabetes, this activity of insulin is blocked or greatly reduced. This is why people with type 2 diabetes have to take insulin injections.

Therefore, by improving a person’s sensitivity to insulin, it means the cells are able to uptake the sugar the way they are supposed to.

When this happens, blood sugar levels are improved and the effects of diabetes are reduced.

Improved mental health and brain health

Have you ever finished a workout and felt incredibly good about yourself?

It’s not a coincidence. When you exercise, your body releases a brain chemical called endorphins. These endorphins interact with your brain cells to give you an overall sense of well-being.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which analyzed 33 clinical trials that involved 1877 people showed that strength training was associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.

Reduced cancer risk/improved outcomes

In breast cancer survivors, researchers showed that strength training can reduce the risk of the disease coming back. The studies that found this out included more than 12,000 women.

Strength training can also help men with prostate cancer and prolong their lives as compared to those who don’t work out at all.

Pain management

While using exercise in pain management is still a newer area of research, there is some evidence that it can help to reduce pain.

Endorphin release is also known to interact with pain receptors in your brain to reduce pain.

Weight control

Need to control your weight? Strength training has long been shown to help with that as well.

Toned muscles

The generally compressive nature of strength training allows your muscles to produce more of the proteins that are involved in contracting your muscles.

This makes your muscles more taut and less flat or weak.

Stronger bones

Strength training also makes bones stronger and there is evidence that it can reduce the effects or delay the onset of osteoporosis.

The idea here is that the work you make your muscles do when you’re strength training impacts your bones. That work puts a certain amount of strain on your bone and elicits the production of more bone cells. More bone cells strengthen your bones.

Lower risk of injury

Because you are toning your muscles and strengthening your bones when you undergo strength training, you lower your risk of injury as you perform other types of exercises.

Improved joint flexibility

Strength training will improve your flexibility. With regular strength training, your joints become more flexible and can even reduce the risk of arthritis.

Longer lifespan

All of these benefits above contribute to a longer lifespan for individuals.

I highly recommend that you hire a personal trainer if you are new to strength training.

A personal trainer will guide you on the best kind of strength exercises that fit your needs.