Contrary to what people may think, strength training is not necessarily for bodybuilders. You often see women worrying about using weights too much. Some men only want a six-pack but are not interested in looking bulky and muscular. Most seniors won’t probably consider becoming a competitive bodybuilder. But other than building muscle, there are lots of benefits in strength training that you can still look up for.
Here’s a top 10 list of benefits you will likely experience for yourself:
Improvements in your cardiovascular health
Weights and cardio are not opposed to each other. Actually, they complement each other to make your heart and blood vessels stronger. Studies show that strength training improves your blood pressure levels, and helps you manage your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Sustained weight loss
Strength training burns calories, too. What’s more, it builds up muscle mass and accelerates your metabolism. So, it helps you reduce your size, and maintain your figure. According to a study published in the journal Obesity, it is ideal to prevent an increase of abdominal fat
and does the job even better than cardio.
Mood and mental health improvements
It is a fact that exercising releases endorphins and makes us feel better. Sometimes, a single session is enough to drain negative thoughts and tension built up throughout the day. It also has anti-anxiety effects, according to a recent review published in Frontiers in Psychology.
By improving blood flow and oxygen distribution in the body, strength training may also boost brain circulation and function. It is a useful way to improve and maintain our cognitive function, and it has been found to slow down the cognitive decline that most of us experience later in life.
Reduction in injury risk
Through strength training, we can improve our balance and strengthen the muscles that support our major articulations. That’s why strength training is so important for athletes because it reduces the injury risk. But even seniors can have the same effect and prevent joint problems with appropriate strength training.
Improvements in mobility and flexibility
By combining strength training and stretching, your body will become more flexible. Mobility problems or any limitation in your range of motion may improve significantly in the process. This gives your body more stability, improves your physical performance, and may even reduce the incidence of elderly falls.
Bone health benefits
Another interesting benefit of strength training is related to bone health. It does not only strengthen your muscles but your bones as well. Strength training stimulates your bones and activates mineralization, making them stronger and structurally solid. This is good news if you want to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
Improved control of blood sugar
Your muscle needs a lot of sugar to stay active. Even when it is not moving, it still needs a lot of energy. Thus, the body changes the signaling network, improves insulin sensitivity, and helps you control your blood sugar. As such, strength training is appropriate for type 2 diabetics and those with metabolic syndrome.
A significant reduction of cancer risk
One of the problems with fat is that the storage cell is also a cytokine factory. These cytokines trigger systemic inflammation, which is essential for cancer development. Moreover, having more muscle mass is considered a predictor of how good your body responds to cancer treatment.
A longer lifespan
There’s an interesting study published in The Lancet in 2015 that suggests a longer lifespan as another benefit of strength training. Naturally, if your cardiovascular risk and blood sugar are controlled, and your overall health as an older adult is better, you will not only expect a longer life but also a better quality of life regardless of your age.