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Five Ways In Which Strength Training Boosts Your Health

When it comes to lifting weights, building stronger muscles is just the tip of the iceberg. Let a Level 3 CrossFit coach show you how resistance training impacts your health, no matter your age, sex or fitness level.

By Debashruti Banerjee
27 Aug 2021

It’s no secret that including strength training in your workouts is one of the best decisions you can make. You can be a professional bodybuilder or an amateur gym-goer, you can be in your twenties or fifties, you can use dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands or even your own bodyweight?as long as you’re eating well and resting plenty.

 

In other words, not only is sustained strength training effective in fat loss, here are five other ways in which it can increase the quality of your life in the long run, says CrossFit Level 3 coach and co-founder of 303 CrossFit Drive Neha Agarwalla.

 

 

1. Builds muscle mass

Few of the most popular results of weight lifting are obviously increase in lean muscle mass, reduction in body fat percentage, improved stamina, speed and overall health. Exactly how much you should lift or for how many reps depends on your fitness goals, experience and metabolic profile. Robert W. Morton et al have concluded in their 2016 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology that “high- and low-repetition (low and high load, respectively) training paradigms elicit a comparable stimulus for the accretion of skeletal muscle mass when resistance exercise is performed until volitional failure.” In other words, lifting heavier weights for less reps and lighter weights for higher reps do not have drastically different outcomes. A 2017 review in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research concluded that doing resistance training alone or included in a combined workout routine led to increases of 6.6–37 percent in strength; 3.4–7.5 percent in muscle mass, 8.2 percent in muscle power, 4.7–58.1 percent in functional capacity in frail, elderly adults.

 

2. Improves bone density

Recent studies have shown that resistance training can slow down natural bone loss with age and even build bone density. According to a 2017 study of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30 minutes of high intensity impact training can improve strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass without any adverse effects. Additionally, Wayne L Westcott has noted in his 2012 paper for Current Sports Medicine Reports that weight training can increase 1 to 3 percent bone mineral density as well as “be effective for reducing low back pain and easing discomfort associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia and has been shown to reverse specific aging factors in skeletal muscle.”

 

3. Boosts metabolism

Strength training is a smart way to burn energy more efficiently, thereby increasing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or the rate at which your body burns calories at rest everyday through vital functions. By opting for resistance weights, not only do you burn more energy during your workout, but afterwards as well. According to Westcott, “inactive adults experience a 3 percent to 8 percent loss of muscle mass per decade, accompanied by resting metabolic rate reduction and fat accumulation. Ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7 percent, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg.”

 

4. Increases balance

Lower limb muscle exercises can improve balance, coordination and posture, which can aid in day-to-day functioning as you grow older. Loss of limb strength can increase risk of injuries, a sedentary lifestyle and bone diseases like osteoporosis. A 2013 study in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science of 50 participants between the ages of 65 to 82 confirmed the positive impact of such training on the functionality and quality of life of ageing individuals.

 

5. Improves joint flexibility

Regardless of your sex, resistance training can improve muslce and joint flexibility during flexion. In a comparative study between 28 men and 30 women, as published in 2017 by Isokinetics and Exercise Science, it was concluded that resistance training “improves or at least preserves the flexibility of different joint movements in young adult men and women.”

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