Ever since I started training, people ask me why do I strength train? Well I wanted to share with everyone some of the benefits of strength training that some of you may have known and some of you may have not. I usually would respond with a stupid response such as “to get stronger” but I’ll delve a little deeper into that now.
Maintaining Weight / Body Composition
Body composition in a nutshell is how much bodyfat do you have and how much muscle you have. So if you hear people talking about “body recomping” it means they are losing fat and building muscle. Remember, you can be 155 pounds and 25% bodyfat or you could be 155 pounds with 0% bodyfat, it’s all about the composition.
When you start strength training you will build muscle and people with more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate, this means you burn more calories. Overall, having more muscle will help burn extra calories that have been stored as fat.
Increased bone density is also a nice benefit as well. As we age our bone density decreases and puts us at risk for breaking a bone easier so add in some training to help build and maintain healthy bones.
Better Overall Health
Training reduces the chances and the symptoms of many chronic conditions like arthritis, back pain, heart disease, diabetes, and many more. People who already suffer from these conditions will benefit from strength training.
Increased stamina and endurance is another benefit from training. This means you won’t get fatigued and you will be able to enjoy an active healthy life.
Here are other health related benefits to strength training:
- Increases good cholesterol
- Decreases bad cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduces insulin sensitivity and diabetic/insulin needs
Better State of Mind
Believe it or not, physical activity has positive benefits to your state of mind. Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve focus and attention for older adults.
Training also reduces stress and anxiety as well as boosts your mood and can help fight depression.
A better self-image will also be a by-product of strength training. Think about it; Feeling healthier, losing fat, building muscle, able to be more physical, less pain in joints = happier in life and a higher self-image.
When you do compound movements, you are mobilizing your body and getting it to do what it is naturally designed to do. Your posture decreases over time because the muscles used to maintain a good posture get weaker from not being used. When you utilize proper form on exercises and stretch regularly, your posture will drastically improve.
Your spinal erectors and core will get stronger, allowing you to support your body in a more upright fashion. This will eventually help fix lower back pain from being hunched over in your upper back and give you more strength in your glutes and hamstrings so you can walk easier.
When a muscle gets stronger, it gets tighter. But when you start using your body through the full range of natural motion, your ligaments, muscles and other parts of your body are going to start getting used to the movement which will result in becoming more flexible. It’s amazing how much easier it is to tie my shoes now that I can squat deeper than parallel.
When you have increased flexibility, you can do natural movements such as picking something up off of the ground or putting something up onto a high shelf. People who are naturally flexible don’t understand what it’s like to be stiff like a cement pillar, so consider yourself lucky.
Helps Prevent Injury
Being stronger in general means you can carry and move heavier objects without your body struggling. When it is hard for you to carry a 12 pack of soda or a case of water, pulling out your back or dropping an object on yourself is a lot more possible. The stronger you become, the easier life will be in general and the less minor strains and aches you will have because your body is more conditioned and ready to use its muscles.
You might say that strength training in itself can cause injuries and you are right, but that’s like saying you are going do get in a car accident because you drive a car.
Improving your strength helps in all aspects of life including being able to perform better in the gym, in everyday life, and in sports. When your body becomes stronger, you are able to be more efficient in your movements and utilize more muscle to do activities.
Heavy squats and deadlifts with some other specialty training will increase your vertical jump for basketball, your sprint speed, and endurance.
If I haven’t made it clear enough why everybody should be strength training by now, then I’ve failed you. There are so many benefits to strength training, so go train. You do not have to have goals of squatting 800 pounds or having an 800 pound deadlift to benefit from lifting weights and getting stronger.
If you have any comments or questions, leave them below!