Weight Training Benefits
Updated: Apr 13
There are many benefits of exercising with resistance or weights. By using dumbbells or your own body weight for resistance, you can increase your metabolism, body shape and enhance your health and longevity.
Increasing muscle tone is the greatest benefit of resistance training. When you put your muscles under stress or load, they adapt and grow bigger and this increases your body’s metabolism. It takes a lot of calories to grow and maintain this new muscle and when you burn calories you burn fat. So essentially, your new muscle turns you into a fat burning machine. In fact for every kilogram of muscle you gain, your body burns approximately an extra 100 calories a day. That works out as an extra 5 kilograms of fat burned for energy a year. This is why muscle gain is important for long-term weight loss.
Both men and women can benefit from weight training. Women tend to become more shaped and toned from resistance training often losing weight around the hips and the back of the arms. Because of the low levels of growth hormones and testosterone in their body, women don’t tend to bulk up as much as guys and instead gain an athletic and feminine figure. Men however, will often bulk up and get that typical V-shape due to growth of the “shaving muscles.” These are the muscles you see when you are shaving your face, i.e. the chest, shoulders and arms, and are the most evident parts of the body to show change due to the low amounts of body fat stored in these areas.
Weight training improves coordination, strength and posture. Working the muscles of the core and back increase your posture and reduce the hunched over position people adopt due to their sedentary jobs. An increase in general strength is to be expected as part of a resistance regime as well. People often find that simple tasks like carrying shopping or chopping wood are easier due to the strength increase from training. Another overlooked benefit of resistance training is an increase of balance and coordination. Resistance exercises train both sides of the brain and work the muscles of the legs, core and smaller muscles that help with balance.
Resistance training or high intensity exercise helps control the levels of blood sugar in the body, reducing the levels of the hormone insulin. High levels of insulin in the body can lead to type 2 diabetes. Insulin also stores this blood sugar as fat so the benefit of reduced blood sugar and lower insulin levels help you lose weight. Exercise can reduce the cholesterol levels, especially the “bad” cholesterol that can cling to artery walls and cause an increase in blood pressure and the chance of coronary heart disease.
Arthritis and osteoporosis can be prevented or reduced with weight bearing resistance training. Exercise increases bone mineral density, which is related to bone health and strength, and is very important to prevent fractures and other bone related problems later in life.
When doing resistance training focus on exercises that work many different muscle groups in the body .i.e. the chest, legs, glutes, shoulders and back. These are the parts of the body that can grow the most muscle quickly. Exercises such as push-ups shoulder press, lunges and squats all train many muscles at once. Train 2-3 times a week giving your muscles time to recover in between sessions.