Weight training, of course, can improve your strength, but did you know that there's a vast array of other benefits and reasons you should take part in regular strength training?
Here are 15 ways weight training, whether at home or in the gym, can improve your health:
Many of us have mainly sedentary jobs, involving large amounts of desk work or long journeys in the car.
This can lead to bad posture and backache unless we do something about it, and weight training can be the answer.
Training your back muscles will encourage better posture away from the curved fork we often see. Using our core muscles will encourage this posture to be held during movement throughout the day.
Do you ever struggle when picking things up from the floor or playing with your children?
Weight training isn't just about being strong. It will improve your quality of movement and range of motion.
Let me give you an example. When in your daily life do you go through full hip flexion? Squats will do this for you.
Moving more and being less sedentary allows for the joints to be exposed to full range more regularly.
Better balance and reduced risk of injury
Do you take part in sports such as football or climbing? Weight training can improve your performance and help protect you from injury, enabling you to enjoy these sports for many years to come.
The main reason for this is the improvement of core stability - simply through using your core more regularly by bracing when training. If you can be stable and balanced under load, bodyweight becomes more stable and balanced in other activities, like sports.
Improved blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
Strength training improves many different health markers, including blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, it's typically observed that people tend to change other habits within their life when they begin a workout regimen, for example, quitting smoking or reducing processed foods in their diet. A lot of people become more health-seeking individuals and are surrounded by others with the same lifestyle goals.
Meeting new people
When we consider improved health, it can be easy to only think of physical health or mental health, both of which are very important, but how about our social health?
Weight training carries a whole community of like-minded individuals and will often introduce you to new people who are also trying to become the best version of themselves.
Meeting these people can give you support, motivation, and a few good giggles along the way.
Improved body confidence
Weight training will encourage a healthier muscle to fat ratio, but it's not just this that helps you feel more comfortable in your skin.
Weight training also releases endorphins or 'happy hormones', which will often reduce negative self-talk and enable you to see all the great things about yourself.
Have you ever heard of sarcopenia?
Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass.
As we get older, we can become more sedentary. But it doesn't have to be that way. There's no age limit to weight training, whether you're continuing lifelong habits or starting a brand new workout routine.
Weight training throughout your life and into older age can keep muscle loss at bay, keeping you healthy and active well into retirement.
Improved mental health
Weight training improves mental health in so many ways it's almost hard to describe them all but let's consider a few reasons:
- Meeting new friends
- Achieving your goals
- Trying something new and being proud of yourself
- Feeling stoked when you hit a heavy lift
And the one I believe to be most important giving some time to yourself. You can't pour from an empty cup so let's make sure we fill yours right to the top.
Suppose you're thinking about starting a family and going through pregnancy and labour. In that case, safe weight training before, during and after pregnancy can aid in a healthier pregnancy and a quicker recovery.
Always make sure you consult an expert and follow your doctor's advice to ensure you're doing what's best for you and your baby at all times.
Being a parent involves a lot of mental and physical strength, and I'm talking from experience, so let's get strong beforehand and continue to support ourselves.
Weight training doesn't just improve muscle strength, it also improves the strength of our bones, making you an all-around strong badass.
But on a more serious note, stronger bones mean less likelihood of fractures and breaks and can mean faster recovery in the event of an injury.
Strength can make daily life a lot easier in many ways. There are so many examples of tasks we perform daily where being stronger could be super useful—carrying in the shopping from the car, picking the kids up or getting the Christmas decorations out of the loft.
From an aesthetic perspective, many people feel more confident with some muscle definition. Whether your ideal aesthetic is big bulging biceps or toned legs, these bodies are built by design with a perfect regimen for each goal and lifestyle.
Increase in energy expenditure
If you've ever done any weight training before, you probably know it uses quite a lot of energy and therefore has a positive effect on our energy balance and body composition. Moving more is always a positive thing.
Reduce the risk of disease and chronic pain
Regular weight training has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity-related diseases, and chronic pain such as backache.
This is partially due to the positive lifestyle changes that go hand-in-hand with regular training, but also for all the other reasons we've listed above!
The risk factors that contribute to some cancers and diseases are reduced when you participate in healthier lifestyle habits, and having a better musculoskeletal support system can reduce posture-related aches and pains.