Interesting animal research showed the improvement of mild cognitive impairment in mice after going through resistance training. Science says resistance training helps the brain to produce new neurons, also called neurogenesis. As amazing as it is, this is only one important benefit you can get when you practice resistance training.
Resistance training is more popular with fitness enthusiasts who want to gain strong muscles. However, regardless of your fitness goals, resistance training is crucial for your overall health and fitness. Whatever type of fitness exercise you want to follow, you should incorporate resistance training somewhere in between to get maximum results for your efforts. Whether you’re aspiring to become a runner or a yogi, resistance training helps improve your form and strengthen your muscles and joints.
Resistance training or strength training is any physical exercise where your muscles pull the bones under load. During resistance training workouts, your skeletal muscles contract to work against some “force” that resists your movement. Doing this repeatedly can increase the strength and tone of your muscles. This is where the many health benefits of resistance training come in.
On the other hand, when we speak of strength training, what easily comes to mind is a gym workout comprising of lifting heavyweights. This is absolutely true if your goal is to add some bulk. But if weightlifting isn’t your thing, there are many options to choose from, like aerobic exercises, bodyweight movements or taking a walk with small hand weights, which also offer the same benefits.
For now, let’s focus on the valuable benefits resistance training workouts can offer you to give you more inspiration before hitting the road.
1. It assists in building muscle mass
Resistance training is the best workout when your goal is to build stronger and bigger muscles. Challenging your muscles consistently through strength exercises enables it to adapt and build more muscle fibers. The more you increase the load, the bigger and stronger your muscles become. This allows your body to increase the energy you burn even during rest or recovery periods.
2. It helps improve brain function
As in our earlier example of animal research, rats who were intentionally injected with chemicals that trigger brain inflammation were able to surpass the progress of their controlled counterparts overtime through resistance training.
The researchers explained that resistance training enables the release of substances that positively influence DNA. Resistance training also lowers the activity of chemicals that reduce the production of new brain cells while the well-developed muscles have higher levels of enzymes that reduce stress.
Science also confirms that long periods of strength training can reduce oxidative stress, increase neurogenesis, improve cognitive performance, and counteract the effects of aging on the brain.
3. It helps improve glucose metabolism
Insulin resistance occurs at a muscular level. This happens when cells in the muscles fail to recognize the insulin hormones, leading to resistance. If left untreated, this can lead to type 2 diabetes, which is a bigger problem.
This scenario can be prevented when you regularly move your muscles to make it healthy and strong. Healthy muscles are more sensitive to the presence of insulin. The loss of muscle mass is most prevalent in older individuals due to declining muscle strength and a sedentary lifestyle. This is why mobility is very important, especially when you’re an older adult, to prevent the onset of diabetes brought about by the weakening of the muscles.
4. It improves heart health
Your heart will enjoy maximum benefits when you do resistance training workouts. Exercises help reduce blood pressure, decrease the levels of bad cholesterol, and increase the good cholesterol levels. All of which can contribute to cardiovascular issues in case of failure in their proper functions.
5. It promotes bone health
Studies show that resistance training increases bone mineral density by about 1 to 3 percent. With this, it can be an effective tool to reduce low back pain, which is associated with bone loss.
Resistance training also aids in reversing the factors associated with the aging of skeletal muscles. Aside from that, stronger muscles that come from strength workouts also help ease the discomfort brought about by conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
6. It lowers the risk of injury
A good muscle mass is crucial to support a different range of motions such as walking, running, swimming or playing sports. A balanced and well-coordinated body needs strong muscles to prevent injury risk.
Weak muscles can put more strain on the tendons and cause tendonitis. But with constant resistance training, the collagen fibrils in tendons will increase in size and strength, lowering the likelihood of injuries.
7. It lowers abdominal fat
Researchers suggest that if you want to lose abdominal fats fast, resistance training is the way to go. In a study, scientists found that strength training helps you lose abdominal fats better than cardiovascular exercises.
While burning calories during strength training, lean muscle mass in the stomach increases at the same time. This stimulates metabolism and enables you to burn more calories.
8. It boosts your mood
Science also considers strength training to be an antidepressant aside from aerobic exercises, which is more popular in beating the blues. You can get that “high” when you lift the weights says clinical psychologist Li Faustino. Depression creates heaviness inside you. Once you start lifting weights it’s as if you’re lifting away the burdens that pulled you down.
Another study says progressive resistance training would reduce depression as the patients make the effort to improve their physiologic capacity.
9. It enhances self-esteem
Because resistance training helps boost your mood, this will improve your self-esteem in the long run. You will feel a lot better after regularly hitting the gym. You may attribute it either to the release of happiness hormones or to the fact that you’re doing a great job in improving yourself.
10. It’s free and can be done anywhere
Resistance training is not only limited to the gym using heavyweights. You can do the exercises at home using your bodyweight alone. Squats, planks, and pushups are some of the bodyweight exercises you can try anywhere.
But if you’re older or having medical conditions, checking in with your doctor first is necessary to exercise safety while doing strength training workouts.