Health Benefits of Strength Training
1. Burns more calories
Because it boosts your metabolism, strength training burns calories. But even after wrapping up your strength-training workout, did you know that it contributes to something known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)—more commonly known as “afterburn”? As your body recovers from your workout and moves back to a resting state, it will keep burning more calories because of your workout. The more intense your workout, the longer it takes for your body to return to resting state, and the more calories you will burn.
2. Reduces anxiety
Researchers have documented the anxiolytic effects of resistance training as well, with low-to-moderate intensity training (less than 70% of one repetition maximum) effecting the most consistent and largest decreases in anxiety. They concluded: “Importantly, anxiolytic effects have been observed across a diverse range of populations and dependent measures. These findings provide support for the use of resistance exercise in the clinical management of anxiety.”
3. Protects bone health
High-intensity resistance and impact training can improve bone density, structure, and strength, as well as functional performance in postmenopausal women with low bone mass, according to results from the LIFTMORE study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. And these results were seen over 8 months of twice-weekly, 30-minute exercise sessions. Significant improvements were seen in lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density, as well as in femoral neck cortical thickness and height in women randomized to the high-intensity, supervised training compared with control participants who completed a home-based, low-intensity exercise program. Further, participant compliance was high, and only one adverse event was reported (a minor lower back spasm).
4. Improves diabetes
High-intensity resistance training improved glycemic control and muscle strength in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes (mean age: 66 years), according to researchers of a meta-analysis/review of 10 clinical trials. Resistance training brought about significant reduction in HbA1c (0.50%), and led to a 38% increase in muscular strength, they found.
“…Decreased muscle mass compromises glycemic control as skeletal muscle plays an important role in glucose clearance from blood vessels and storage. Moreover, muscular strength and muscle mass decrease with aging, so that it is important for diabetic patients, especially diabetic elders, to increase both their muscular strength and muscle mass through [resistance training], in particular high-intensity training,” they concluded.
5. Lowers colon cancer risk
To study the effects of weightlifting on future risk of developing 10 different types of cancer, researchers surveyed and followed over 215,000 adults for 6-7 years. According to their study findings, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, those who lifted weights every week had a 22% to 25% lower risk of colon cancer compared with those who did not lift weights, as well as a modest reduction in the risk of kidney cancer.