6 Reduces the risk of diabetes
“Resistance training is something we want anyone with Type 2 diabetes to incorporate into their routine,” Rebold says. He explains that a 2013 review published in the journal BioMed Research International shows that, in addition to building muscle, strength training also improves the muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose, or blood sugar.
“In your muscle cells, you have these transporters that pick up glucose from the blood and deliver it to the muscle cells,” Rebold says. “Strength training improves their functioning to pick up a lot more glucose from the blood and into muscle, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels.”
Lowers LDL Low Density Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL High Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol).
7 Reduces the likelihood of injury
Improving muscle strength decreases the risk of falling and other related injuries. Developing strong bones and muscles can help to reduce the severity of falls. Increased strength will also allow your body to be more resistant to injuries, and general aches and pains.
“Having a good muscle base is important for all movement, balance, coordination and injury prevention,” explains Dr. Adam Rivadeneyra, a sports medicine physician with Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, California. “If a muscle is too weak, it puts more stress on its connecting tendon and can result in tendonitis.”
Plus, strength training also increases the number and diameter of collagen fibrils in tendons to increase their strength and help prevent injury, according to a 2015 review published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, a publication of the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy.
8 Improves posture, mobility and flexibility
It’s time to rethink your stretching routine. Results from a 2017 study in the journal Isokinetics and Exercise Science show that strength training improves flexibility in both men and women. A previous 2006 North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy study suggests that eccentric strength exercises may provide the biggest benefit, improving hamstring flexibility twice as well as static stretching. Eccentric exercises are any that emphasize muscle lengthening, rather than shortening. Example exercises might include the lowering phase of a squat or raising the bar during a lat pull-down, Rivadeneyra says.
However, even more important to overall function, fitness and quality of life is mobility, he says. By taking your joints through their full range of motion during strength exercises, you can increase that range of motion over time, he explains.
9 Elevated body image
Sure, exercise impacts body composition and physique, but research, including a 2015 Journal of Extension study of middle-aged and older women, shows that consistent strength training improves body image and perceived physical appearance – no matter the actual aesthetic results.
Improvements in mental health and energy levels, as well as feelings of accomplishment, are the likely catalysts for improved overall body image, according to researchers.
10 Improves emotional resilience, makes you more able to cope with everyday problems
Runner’s high gets a lot of hype, but strength training also improves symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. Exercise-triggered endorphins play a role, but strength training also provides an opportunity to overcome obstacles in a controlled, predictable environment, increasing mental resiliency, according to findings from Harvard Medical School.
For the greatest anti-anxiety effects, a 2014 review published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology shows that using low to moderate weights that are lighter than 70 percent of what you can lift for one rep has the greatest effects on anxiety.
11 Makes you look younger and live longer
The aging process causes cells to deteriorate and consequently, they need more time to repair themselves. Building muscle has the useful effect of slowing this process, allowing you to feel and look younger for as long as you keep lifting!
One of strength training’s many benefits include a longer life. The 2015 study in The Lancet found that grip strength accurately predicts death from any cause and, according to a 2017 Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care study, compared to body mass index or BMI, lean muscle mass better measures a person’s overall health.
On the next page learn how to put this into practice…