Strength training is an integral part of any well-rounded exercise program, with its popularity increasing rapidly over the last few years. However, there are still many who ignore strength training as part of their exercise plan, believing they’ll “get too big”. Despite this being furthest from the truth, they are missing the many benefits of strength training including increased fat loss, maintenance of healthy bone mass and the prevention of muscle loss during aging.
Does this mean you should incorporate strength training in your exercise routine? Of Course! And if you’re still not convinced, here are 5 benefits of strength training:
1. Slows down aging
Is it possible to stop aging and live a young life forever? Well, not exactly. Strength training and living an active lifestyle does however, slow down the aging process and even turn back the clock to an extent.
Research has shown strength training to reverse the oxidative stress on gene expression. And although aging is a natural process resulting in changes in gene structure and function over time, strength training can reverse this.
So what are you waiting for? Go grab those dumbbells!
2. Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease
One of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease is hypertension. Luckily, having high blood pressure is something we can control with a proper diet and active lifestyle. In fact, regular physical activity is often recommended to patients as the first line of treatment for high blood pressure.
What if you don’t have hypertension? Should you still exercise? Of course! Several studies have shown regular exercise to be protective against future development of hypertension. Regular strength training in particular, has shown to lead to significant reductions in blood pressure over time in patients with hypertension.
3. Reduces your risk of osteoporosis
Loss of muscle mass is a normal part of the aging process. Doing aerobic exercise such as walking or light treadmill exercises is not enough to preserve bone health, muscle tone, posture and balance. By not incorporating strength training into your exercise routine, your chances of losing strength and function will increase as you age.
There is a ton of research that shows the strength training to reduce bone loss and even help build bone, and as such, strength training is one of the most effective forms of treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
4. Plays a role in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) include lack of physical activity and fitness, family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and excessive weight. Apart from having a family history of diabetes, all the above-mentioned factors are modifiable simply with a lifestyle change. In fact, exercise training including strength training, now represents a central strategy in diabetes prevention.
Strength training leads to:
- Improvements in glycaemic control, thereby reducing the chances of further complications often seen in diabetics.
- Improvements in insulin sensitivity.
- Increase in muscle capillarisation and blood flow.
- Increased fat loss
- Increase in muscle mass (both important in the prevention and treatment of T2DM)
5. Results in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
While there currently is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, current strategies aim at prevention as the best form of protection. Living an active, healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, regular physical activity reduces your risk of developing the disease by 50 percent according to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation.
What’s more interesting, those who have already started to develop cognitive problems can slow down deterioration simply by regular exercise.
Don’t wait. Get active now, future you will thank you!
What are you waiting for?
I hope reading this is enough motivation to get active and start strength training. The benefits are amazing. To help you get started check out my “Ultimate Guide to Strength Training” to discover how to start a strength training program now. It includes a 6-week program with tips and recommended apps to keep you motivated on your journey to a Better Yoo!