- Weight training helps you lose fat, as muscle is metabolically active and helps you burn more calories at rest. For each pound of muscle you gain, you will burn 35-50 more calories daily. So, for example, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories per pound, you will burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3600 more calories per month. This equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year!
- Weight training makes you stronger. Even a moderate intensity strength training program will increase strength by 30 to 50 percent!
- Weight training improves cardiovascular fitness. Not to the extent that pure cardio will, of course, but if you lift and do not take breaks in between exercises, you will generate a prolonged elevated heart rate - which will result in improved aerobic capacity, to an extent.
- Weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months, offering powerful protection against osteoporosis.
- Weight training reduces the risk of diabetes, by increasing glucose utilization in the body by at least 23 percent in four months. Research demonstrates that a combination of weight training and cardio is best for diabetes prevention and management.
- Weight training helps fight heart disease, by improving your cholesterol profile and blood pressure (a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise is ideal).
- Weight training helps conquer back pain and fight arthritis. A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or reducing low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that for women, weight training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.
- Weight training helps you become a better athlete, by improving your proficiency and reducing the risk of injury.
- Weight training improves mental health. A Harvard study found that just 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counselling.
Exercise Specialist Recommendations The most important recommendation, above all others, is to work closely with an experienced professional who can carefully design a program that is safe and will address any health concerns you have. The right exercises for one person can create or exacerbate injuries for another. Another point to consider is that a program must be changed as strength increases, otherwise further improvements will not be realized. Lastly, it can often work well to start clients with weight training, as opposed to other exercise modalities, as weight training establishes a foundation of muscle and connective tissue strength which makes injuries less likely to occur.
Strength training usually leads to increased confidence in one's physical abilities, and is psychologically empowering. As well, increased stamina from stronger muscles makes it easier to begin a cardiovascular training program. Results from lifting weights happen quickly - usually, there will be marked improvements in strength and function within 4-8 weeks. This is highly motivating, especially for new exercisers who tend to rely on external motivational cues as they begin the lifestyle change journey.