Along with regular cardio, weight training is an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. It’s not just for the young jocks – whether male or female, young or old, pretty much everyone can benefit from weight training. But what exactly does it do for you? Here are just some of the benefits of weight training that’ll have you looking forward to pumping iron.
Increases muscle strength, power, and endurance – Well, duh, weight training builds your muscles. And that’s a good thing for everyone, men and women alike. It means your muscles will have the strength, power, and endurance needed to handle a variety of everyday tasks, from walking upstairs to carrying groceries.
Combats loss of muscle due to aging and weight loss – As you get older, muscle loss can occur; this phenomenon is known as sarcopenia. You can fight back, however, with weight training, which will help you keep your muscle as you age so that you can still go about your day-to-day activities. Muscle loss can also occur when you lose weight. Strength training keeps the muscle loss to a minimum, and creates shapely muscles that you can show off as you lose the excess weight.
Improves bone density – Women often lose bone mass as they age, and the problem often becomes worse after menopause. By putting stress on the bones, weight training helps to improve bone density. This can in turn reduce the risk of fractures in older women.
Prevents injuries – Weight training strengthens both your muscles and joints, and that can help prevent injuries of all kinds. If you do get injured, strengthening the affected muscles can help you heal faster and get back on your feet sooner.
Improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control – Research has shown that strength training improves insulin sensitivity in diabetics just as well as aerobic exercise does. It helps with blood sugar control, as well; in fact, once study showed that the effect was similar to taking diabetes medication. Combining strength training and aerobic exercise will most likely provide the most benefits to diabetics.
The above are just a few of the many benefits of strength training – others include arthritis relief, better flexibility and balance, improved mood, and reduced back pain. The CDC recommends doing strength training two or more days a week, so make sure you incorporate it into your at-home exercise program. Pumping iron makes you stronger, leaner, and healthier, so make it a regular part of your fitness regimen and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time!