Fact: You will not get meatheadedly buff simply by strength training. It takes a serious effort to add mass. Not only do you need to lift heavy weights, but you also have to eat. . . a lot. Strength training benefits range far more than just getting shredded. Aside from muscular gains, strength training may yield several benefits and I highly recommend incorporating it into your exercise routine.
9 Strength Training Benefits Besides Adding Muscle
1. Mental Toughness
Attempting to lift heavy weights is daunting.
You’re afraid you can’t lift it. You’re afraid your body will fail resulting in the weights crushing you.
The human body is capable of remarkable things. Many times it is your mind that gets in the way. Mental toughness can be built by a killer workout. Enduring through a sweat-inducing strength training session can add significant mental vigor. Pushing yourself to do one more set, one more rep, not only will add to your physical gains, but will make you slightly more stronger mentally.
As a motivational reminder, when you’re about to give up, that means you actually have at least one more rep/set in you.
2. Bone Density
According to the Mayo Clinic, “by stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.”
Men with low testosterone levels are at risk—testosterone has direct affects on bone density and can alter your chances of osteoporosis.
It’s obvious to say that weight training can lead to improved physical appearance. This can provide a huge positive boost in your self-esteem. Feeling good about your physical appearance can be a great jump for your confidence levels. Strength training can lead increased to self-worth as it releases endorphins, adrenaline, dopamine, and endocannabinoids.
Set yourself challenging yet accomplishable goals to give your confidence a boost. As you hit your goals, you’ll begin to feel better about yourself.
Stress is something we’ll never avoid. The best thing we can do is manage it. Stress is a huge killer for people and can affect various parts of your body. Putting yourself through a grueling weight training session can lower cortisol levels, and get rid of that negative energy.
Harvard Health suggests adding weight training to your regimen to have a well-balanced exercise program.
People that partake in regular physical activity report having better sleep patterns than those that don’t. Participating in weight training is included in this. The NCBI found in a study of men ages 65-80 that resistance training reduced the likelihood of waking up during the night.
The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll of 1,000 people—participants were classified as non-exercisers, light exercisers, moderate exercisers and vigorous exercisers. Compared to their counterparts, vigorous exercisers reported the most “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night during the week. They also are the least likely to report sleep problems.
Good sleeping patterns leads to a less likelihood of sleep disorders, which can cause other health issues.
Our brain is dynamic and just like your muscles, our brain will contract as we age. Many neurological studies have found that, by the latter part of middle age, most of us have begun developing age-related holes or lesions in our brains’ white matter, which is the material that connects and passes messages between different brain regions.
Research has shown that older adults that perform light to moderate resistance training hinder the growth of white matter. The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine even concluded that with healthy older adults, strength training can potentially improve memory and memory-related tasks.
7. Balance and coordination
Participating in exercises that challenge your balance and coordination will in turn improve these abilities. Some exercises that will help are:
· Single-leg squats
· Single-leg deadlifts
· Turkish get-ups
· Single-arm planks
· Pretty much any exercise on a bosu ball
8. Cardiovascular health
You don’t have to run on a treadmill for 20 minutes to get your heart pumping. A high-intensive strength training routine can equate or even exceed the impact of a traditional cardio session. The American Heart Association suggests two strength training sessions a week.
9. Greater longevity
Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant clinical professor in the endocrinology division at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, led a study in 2014 and found that the more muscle mass an individual had, the longer they were likely to live. The study supported the argument that it is body composition that determines “all-cause” mortality instead of Body Mass Index (BMI).
“This study does have some limitations. For instance, one cannot definitively establish a cause-and-effect relationship between muscle mass and survival using a cohort study such as NHANES III. Srikanthan said, ‘But we can say that muscle mass seems to be an important predictor of risk of death.'”
It is my goal that at least one of these nine reasons ignites you to start pushing around some heavy weights. Personally, it is not my goal to be a bodybuilder or one giant piece of muscle. I’m not saying that should be your goal either. Nevertheless, there appears to be countless amounts of data to support the fact that strength training benefits more than just your physical appearance. Not only do I want you to look good, but I also want your exercise habits to yield dividends in other aspects of your life.
Back to you
Do you strength train? If so, what are your motives for strength training? If not, what’s holding you back?