5 Reasons to Start Lifting Weights Today
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Are you planning on adding strength training to your weight loss plan? You should! Weight lifting doesn’t just build muscles, it has plenty of other benefits from lowering your risk for cardiovascular diseases, preventing cognitive decline, and even lowering your risk for diabetes! We have 5 reasons why you should start strength training now!
Weightlifting is good for your bones
As we age, we experience bone density loss. Bones become brittle and weaker as women reach post-menopausal age because of estrogen loss. We lose roughly 1 percent per year after the age of 40. But weight and resistance training can help build bone mineral density. They stimulate muscle protein synthesis by activating a signaling pathway that regulates cell cycle. Bones grow better and become stronger in response to forces exerted on it. According to a 2018 study, resistance exercise and weight training, either alone or in combination with other treatments, can improve muscle or bone mass.
Weightlifting is good for your heart
A study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University and published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that lifting weights for at least 30 minutes a week may reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent. The study analyzed data from 13,000 adults. Additionally, the researchers also found that spending more than an hour did not produce any additional benefit.
You’ll lose more weight and burn more calories
Cardio may burn more calories per session but its weight training that burns more calories even at rest. This is because weight training is more effective at building muscles than cardio. Muscles burn more calories at rest than any other type of tissue. As such, the more muscle mass means increased resting metabolism.
A study conducted by the University of Maryland on a diverse set of participants ranging from ages 20 to 65 and older found that their absolute resting metabolic rate or RMR increased by 7% in both the young and older participants who did strength training for 24 weeks.
When people lose weight, they don’t just lose fat. they lose lean muscle mass too. Supplementing a low-calorie diet with strength training may prevent excessive lean muscle loss during weight loss. A study from Wake Forest University found that the combination of weight training and a low-calorie diet preserved lean muscle mass lost through cardio exercise. The study found that people lost more muscle mass, around 20% when they were on a purely cardio and diet plan, 16% while on the diet plan alone and only 10% lean muscle loss in the diet and weight training plan.
Strength training can lower your risk for diabetes
A 2018 study followed 35,754 women. The study found that women who engaged in strength training experienced a reduced rate of type 2 diabetes by 30%. Additionally, the study also found that strength training and cardio activity was associated with additional risk reduction for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease compared to just cardio activity.
Strength training may help depression
Strength training doesn’t only benefit the body, it also helps the mind. Studies have shown that weightlifting can have positive effects on a number of mental illnesses and neurodegenerative diseases including depression and Alzheimer's disease.
One study looked into 33 randomized clinical trials involving 1,877 participants and found that resistance training was associated with a significant reduction of depression symptoms.
A trial of 55 adults ages 55 to 86 led by the University of Sydney found that increased muscle strength led to improved brain function in participants with mild cases of cognitive impairment - a precursor to Alzheimer's disease. The participants showed improved cognition when they were tested using the Alzheimer's disease Assessment Scale.
Here are 5 reasons to start strength training today!
- Weightlifting is good for your bones - We lose bone density as we age and especially after menopause. Strength training helps stimulate bone growth because of something called "Wolff's Law". Bones become stronger in response to forces exerted on it.
- Weightlifting is good for your heart - A study of 13,000 adults found that lifting weights for at least 30 minutes a week may reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent!
- You’ll lose more weight and burn more calories - Cardio may burn more calories per session but its weight training that burns more calories even at rest because it raises your resting metabolic rate or RMR. This is because muscles burn more calories at rest than any other type of tissue. A study conducted by the University of Maryland found that participants’ absolute RMR increased by 7% in both young and older participants who did strength training for 24 weeks.
- Strength training can lower your risk for diabetes - A study of 35,754 women found that women who engaged in strength training experienced a reduced rate of type 2 diabetes by 30%.
- Strength training may help depression - Studies have shown that strength training can have positive effects on a number of mental illnesses including depression and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease.
"Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health" - PMC, November 30, 2018
"Exercise for Your Bone Health" - NIH
"Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health." - PubMed, July, 2012
"Weightlifting is good for your heart and it doesn't take much" - ScienceDaily, November 13, 2018
"Strength training builds more than muscles" - Harvard Health Publishing
"7 Incredible Benefits of Lifting Weights That Have Nothing to Do With Building Muscle" - Prevention, March 14, 2019
"Effect of strength training on resting metabolic rate and physical activity: age and gender comparisons." - PubMed, April, 2001
"Lose fat, preserve muscle: Weight training beats cardio for older adults" - ScienceDaily, November 1, 2017
"Strength Training and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease" - PMC, January 1, 2018
"Weights may help stop Alzheimer's: study" - SBS News, October 25, 2016
"Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training With Depressive Symptoms Meta-analysis and Meta-regression Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials" - JAMA Psychiatry, June, 2018
"Cardio vs Weight Lifting: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?" - Healthline, October 24, 2017