You’ve likely heard that resistance training, or lifting weights, is beneficial — but have you ever wondered, “yeah Clara, but what are the *actual* benefits other than just “it’s good for your health!”? Let’s talk about the benefits and importance of resistance training today!
First off, let me just say that I for one am continually fascinated when I learn the science behind different health recommendations — it gives me a sense of educated empowerment when I can concretely connect the dots between my actions and the outcome.
I don’t know if “educated empowerment” even makes sense, but at any rate, it’s neat to see almost the “behind the scenes” of it all. So, rather than just being told “eat your veggies!” — when I understand the science behind why, specifically, we should be eating veggies and how they impact our body’s function on a cellular level, it really does provide a sense of empowerment. Like, foods like leafy greens are a great source of magnesium, and magnesium helps promote relaxation within the body, helping to decrease blood pressure naturally! It also plays a crucial role in your body’s level of insulin sensitivity, which is important when it comes to stabilizing blood sugar levels (major key, even if you don’t have diabetes!). Magnesium is vital for over 300 biochemical processes within the body, yet over 50% of Americans are deficient!!! And we can get it from…veggies!!!
It’s just…fascinating! When we take the focus off of using food or fitness as a punishment or as a way to change our physical appearance (hello, scarcity mindset), and instead look at the benefits that both of them provide to enhance and support our health (hello, abundance mindset!), I don’t know what else to say other than your whole approach to TRUE health and wellness changes.
Sooo, yeah. Back from that tangent and onto resistance training! Similar to being told to eat your veggies, you’ve likely heard or been told the recommendation to incorporate strength, resistance or weight training into your routine. These are usually used interchangeably and all pretty much mean the same thing. We will use the term resistance training throughout this post.
Resistance = some type of force or weight that is placed on the body. This could be dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, even bodyweight! Think of movements such as squats, chest press, bicep curls, deadlifts, or situps. These can all be included in resistance training.
13 Amazing Benefits of Resistance Training:
- More favorable blood pressure, LDL and triglyceride values: regular resistance training has been found to help reduce blood pressure as well as LDL and triglyceride values
- Decreased risk of injury: as you develop muscles, strength, and greater proprioception (awareness of positioning and movement of your body), you are decreasing your risk of injury in the future
- Enhanced physical performance: depending on your training and goals, this could be related to increased strength, endurance and/or power
- Improved self-esteem and confidence: just think how proud and confident you are of yourself when you complete something hard and challenging! Resistance training provides that opportunity daily!
- Improved blood sugar control: resistance training helps your body become more insulin sensitive, which helps with lowering blood sugar and utilizing that sugar for energy!
- Increase in metabolic rate: muscle is metabolically expensive, which means it burns more calories to maintain its size. Thus, increasing your muscle mass can lead to an increase in your metabolic rate and how many calories you burn day to day
- Increased bone density: placing resistance on your bones helps improve bone density, which leads to less risk for osteoporosis. Start NOW!
- Decreased body fat + increased lean muscle mass: if you are wanting to “tone up”, resistance training is your friend!! Resistance training builds muscle, which is major key for body composition…more so than just weight loss!
- Improved coordination: through resistance training, your central nervous system gets better at coordinating contractions and muscle movements. Just starting out you might feel awkward or out of place, but as you continue to incorporate resistance training you will likely find you improve or “make gains” quickly, as your neuromuscular ability and coordination improves!
- Better cognition: some studies show resistance training helps support executive functions of the brain, especially important as we age!
- Better functional independence: another major key as we age — we want to be able to live independently (and safely!!) as long as we can, and resistance training helps us to do just that thanks to its impact on our physical + cognitive + neurological functions
- Reduced anxiety and depression: while exercise shouldn’t be our only outlet for dealing with mental health issues, it is certainly a great tool to incorporate in our journey!
- Reduced symptoms of back pain, fibromyalgia and arthritis: might seem counterintuitive, but resistance training can actually help to support and protect joints, as well as help ease pain and stiffness.
Phew that is A LOT!! Anyone else ready to pump some iron yet?!
If you said yes but you are new to lifting weights, that’s awesome! It’s never too late to start including resistance training into your routine! Check out my post on How to Start Resistance Training to break down all the basics and need to knows on how to begin!