So I listed10 reasons why you should start lifting weights now....
Top 10 benefits of strength training
- improvement of body composition
- improves brain function
- improves joint protection and stabilisation
- increases bone density, elasticity and bone strength
- Increases overall strength
- improves agility and speed
- improves cardiovascular fitness
- favourable hormonal effects
- effective rehabilitation after injuries and diseases
- improves performance and life quality in older people
1. Improvement of Body Composition
Having more muscles means having a higher metabolic rate (the amount of energy expended while at rest). Your body will consume more calories throughout the day in order to nourish the muscles. You basically loose fat in your sleep.
There are different ways how you can loose weight. The question is
- Do you want to look skinny and weak or
- Do you want to look lean and strong?
2. Improves Brain function
A dynamic muscle training improves the blood circulation in the brain up to 50%. Studies showed that coordinative exercises stimulate the brains ability to rebuild new nerve cells and improve short memory function. Challenging exercises with dumbbells and cables are good choices to boost your brain activity.
It also showed that moderate to intensive strength training lifts the mood and is as effective in treating medium to light depression as antidepressant drugs like prozac and zoloft.
Also a stronger and more upright body which comes with more muscles, can improve self esteem and self confidence.
3. Improves Joint Protection and Stabilisation
The articular or hyaline cartilage is a white very smooth surface covering the ends of bones. Through its smoothness and endurance it allows the connected bone to glide over each other with minimal frictional. The hyaline cartilage is like a coating over the bone. It is mainly made up of type II collagen fibres and proteoglycans (a very water dense protein), which makes the joint surface very smooth and resistance for pressure.
Cartilages have generally no blood vessels and depend on the attached bones to get the needed nutrients.
Cartilage thickness varies with prolonged pressure up to 50 % . Therefore doing squats in a gym is not a real problem for the knee joints, as the high load only lasts for a short time. But it's important to do it with good proper form to avoid shear forces in the knee joint.
In animal experiments it has been shown that an atrophic cartilage under continuous movement will be newly formed within 6 hours.
Strength training and joint protection/stability
Lifting weights and movement is essential for a good cartilage nutrition. If we would have only the same pressure on our joints 24h/day, than there would be only a limited exchange of fluids and nutrients in the cartilage. The result would be, the cartilage will slowly deteriorate over time and becomes more brittle and prone to wears and tears. We need the extra pressure on our joints. Our body weight is not enough to do the trick, as it is a fixed and constant pressure, it doesn't create the pumping effect like with extra loads. Pressure and release is what is needed for a good joint health.
Strong muscles and tendons also allow for a better and more stable joint movement and protecting it from sliding in directions it shouldn't.
4. Increases Bone Density, Elasticity and Bone Strength
Bones are a living organ that is continuously being reshaped in a process called remodeling. In this process, cells called osteoclasts resorb bone tissues whereas cells called osteoblasts deposit new bone tissues into the bone cavities. These cells are sensible to bone load. Under high loading (Weight training for expl.) osteoblasts will increase bone mass to withstand the pressure, whereas under low loading (sitting the whole day at a desk) osteoclasts remove bone tissue to save extra weight and energy. That's way light weighted people are more prone to develop osteoporosis.
With regular moderate to high intensive strength training your bones are getting stronger and thicker. When you stop lifting weight for a while (starts after couple days) your body will start downsizing the bone mass.
Osteoporosis is a decalcification of bones, mainly older people suffer from this condition. Men and women alike.
Osteoporosis can lead to spontaneous fractures of vertebrae and hip bones and immobilising people. If you are already immobile the condition will worsen faster.
With a good differentiated strength training the process can be slowed down.
5. Increased Overall Strength
Everybody benefits from strength training. The 40 year old and the 97 years old as well as small children. Our body is built in a way if we lift weights we are getting stronger - so simple.
Simply said we build more muscles the more and heavier we lift. A lot of people still have the idea, when they start lifting weights they soon will look like a bodybuilder.
Well fact is to look like one of the pro bodybuilders it takes about 10 years of specific, very intensiv training, with a rigorous diet plan. And of course sometimes with the help of some performance enhancing drugs.
Eventually with strength training You will become more muscular, but that's a good thing. Live is more enjoyable if you can move and lift things easier.
6. Improves Agility/Flexibility and Speed
It was always thought that a contracted muscle will shorten and make you less flexible. But if trained with full ROM (range of motion) strength training improves the flexibility in the trained joint. A 8 week study showed that with 2 times a week of strengthening of the hip abductors in full ROM, the participant gained an avg. of 8° of movement.
In a study by the University of North Dakota showed a full range of motion resistance training is as effective as static stretching exercises, both forms showed increased flexibility compared to the control group which didn't do any exercises.
When we get older we loose primarily fast twitch muscle fibres. But those are essential to move fast and being able to react fast in dangerous situations.
Strength training will improve speed. Moderate to high intensity training will increase (or at least slow down any decline) fast twitch muscle fibres.
You need good working, strong muscles to be fast. Or have you ever seen a 100m sprinter who looks weak and has no muscles?
7. Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
With a well organised intensive strength training with short breaks between sets, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Studies showed that strength training can
8. Favourable Hormonal Effects
After an intensive strength training the body will produce more testosterone and growth hormones. These hormones are also called "fountain of youth".
Activated muscles produce themselves hormones - Myokines (A myokine is one of several hundred cytokines or other small proteins) some of them have endocrine (hormonal) functions, like a muscle pharmacy. A through strength training stimulated muscle produces a lot of beneficial substances for our body:
The higher the training intensity, the more myokines are built in the muscles.
9. Effective Rehabilitation After Injuries and Diseases
After orthopaedic injuries and diseases strength training is an important method for recovery and therapy. Due to its anti inflammatory and anabolic properties it helps speeding up the recovery time.
Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
10. Improved Life Quality In Older People
In the old times it was thought decreased strength is part of a natural ageing process. Nowadays we know its mainly because of the reduced workload in older age. Most people spend most of their time after retirement on the sofa in front of a tv.
A study in the US showed that in the age group over 75 years old, 28% of the man and 67% of women couldn't lift more than 4.5kg (9-10pounds ). This makes it very difficult to be mobile and using public transportation. Injuries caused by falls are very high in the older age group.
At Swiss Health Coaching we help you create strength training programs for your individual needs.