“Why should I lift weights?” This is a question I’ve gotten a few times from people who don’t see it as being of any practical benefit. Even if you don’t want to get really big there are still a lot of reasons to lift weights that you may want to take advantage of.
Resistance training has been shown to improve your body in a number of ways including by reducing your risk for some major diseases.
Good For Your Bones
One major disease that resistance training helps prevent is a bone disease called osteoporosis. People are vulnerable to developing osteoporosis when they lose strength in their bones which can begin to cause small holes to form in them. There is really no cure for this condition but resistance training has been shown to prevent it by strengthening your bones.
A study done at the University of Arizona had women follow a resistance training program for 18 months. They found that as women progressed in the program their bones got stronger especially in the spine and legs. This study is one of many showing that weight training can be an effective way of preventing bone diseases and can make your bones harder and denser.
Another disease that resistance training has been shown to help prevent is type 2 diabetes which is a disease that makes it hard to control your blood sugar levels. Having high levels of sugar in your blood can be dangerous and can cause damage to your blood vessels but weight training can help prevent this.
A study done at the International Diabetes Institute in Australia looked at how much weight training could affect blood sugar levels. This study involved 36 women with type 2 diabetes who were asked to follow or not follow a weight training routine for 6 months.
What they found was that weight training caused a significant drop in high blood sugar levels compared to women who did not train with weights. This study suggests that weight training can help you control your blood sugar levels which can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.
Not only can weight training help prevent major diseases but it can also have a big impact on your mood. A study done at the University of South Florida had a group of police officers follow an exercise program that involved weight training and lasted for 4 months.
- During the program these police officers reported a big drop in feelings of depression, anxiety and hostility and an increase in job satisfaction.
- Researchers also found that the officers who dropped out of the program did not show these improvements.
A study done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at the effects on mood that 24 weeks of resistance training caused in 28 healthy adults. The program involved training with weights 3 times per week and what the researchers found was that weight training lowered feelings of confusion, tension and anger.
Another study done at Boston University looked at how weight training affected the moods of elderly adults.
This study had elderly adults follow either a high intensity or low intensity exercise program and found that after 12 weeks both programs improved their moods. The subjects had lower levels of anxiety and increased confidence from feeling more physically capable.
These studies show that resistance training seems to have a clear effect on mood.
Another interesting benefit that resistance training offers is that it increases discipline. Discipline is important when it comes to a lot of things such as sticking to a diet or exercise plan. A study done at the University of British Columbia tested how much resistance training could affect areas of the brain that are associated with discipline.
This study had seniors train with weights for 12 months either once or twice a week. They found that the seniors who trained twice a week had more discipline than those who trained only once per week when they carried out curtain tasks. This study suggests that training with weights at least twice per week can increase discipline.
Better coordination is another benefit of weight training. A study published by NIH was done to see if weight training could improve coordination in the fingers. This study had test subjects perform exercises that increased finger strength and then had them perform difficult tasks with their fingers that required a lot of coordination. They found that weight training improved the ability to do these tasks and improved the way the test subjects were able to use the muscles in their hands.
Weight training is very important and the list of reasons to lift weights seems to go on forever. I urge you to take advantage of them.