7 Amazing Scientific Benefits of Weight Training

Here are 7 amazing benefits of weight training backed by science. Weight training is great for much more than building muscle!
benefits of weight training

I spent a long time reading through many scientific articles on the benefits of weight training. I picked a few of the more common benefits associated with this topic. 

I provided a summary of each of the listed benefits with their key takeaways from each source.   

Keep in mind that I am not a health professional. I am merely a fitness enthusiast who has done his research.

Keep reading to find out the amazing benefits you can expect to gain from weight training. 

#1 – Improved Confidence

One of the common benefits of weight training many weightlifters experience is greater confidence and self-esteem.

Several types of physical activity are effective for improving self esteem. Weight training provides the most evidence of this. It has a high degree of effectiveness in the short term. It took as little as six weeks of training for the participants to improve their body image. [1]

Keep in mind that it is not the weight training itself that makes you more confident. If an individual is able to see visible results, then their self esteem will improve. Results include fat loss, more muscle tone, greater strength, and higher endurance. [1]

At least two days a week of weight training done consistently over a period of time will allow for improved physical and mental health. [1]

#2 – Burns Calories

It seems obvious, but if losing belly fat is your goal, weight lifting is one of the best methods of doing so.

In short, the reason for this is because weight training will build more muscle tissue in your body. When you have more muscle tissue in your body, it will burn more calories. Fat tissue does not burn as many calories. Your body weight can still increase because muscle weighs more than fat. Keep in mind that increasing body weight is not a bad thing. Your overall physique may still be improving from added muscle and fat loss. [2]

This study shows that individuals’ waist circumference decreased the most from weight training. [3]

If you want to burn more calories, you must increase your physical activity. Weight lift at least twice a week. Training more days per week means more calories burned. [2]

#3 – Builds and Maintains Muscle

One of the most obvious benefits of weight training is the fact that lifting weights will build muscle. It’s important to note that it can also maintain muscle.

Weight training allows for muscle hypertrophy. This is the process of breaking down muscles and then allowing them to repair themselves. During rest periods, they grow bigger and stronger. Do this with progressive overload over a long period of time to see gains in strength and size. Progressive overload is lifting heavier or doing more reps and sets as you get stronger. This article goes into more detail on the whole process.

As people age, they begin to lose muscle mass. According to this article, after age 30, people can lose 3-5 percent of muscle mass per decade. This is a problem known as Sarcopenia. Weight lifting will allow an individual to maintain or build muscle mass into old age. [4]

#4 – Strengthens Bone

It may be surprising, but weight training does not only build muscle mass. The benefits of weight training extend to strengthening your bones as well.

Weight training builds bone in a very similar way to the way it builds muscle. Lifting heavy weights puts stress on your bones, causing them to break down. During periods of rest, the bones will rebuild themselves. This results in bones denser and stronger than before. 

This is good to know as Osteoporosis is a common concern of aging individuals. According to this article, weight lifting places emphasis on the bones in the hips, spine, and wrists. These are all areas particularly susceptible to fractures. [5]

It’s important to note that weight lifting may not build bone, but it can still slow down bone loss. This is critical for aging individuals who want to maintain a strong body into old age. [5]  

#5 – Improved Cardiovascular Health

The benefits of weight training extends to our heart and cardiovascular health too.

Weight training is just as effective as aerobics exercises in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. A study had women engage in aerobics training and weight training for one to two hours a week. There were similar findings in the results of both groups of women. Risk reductions were similar. [6]

Keep in mind that the study indicates that 30 minutes per week of resistance training had similar risk reductions as two and a half hours of walking. [6]

It is also shown that resistance training can reduce blood pressure to the same degree as aerobic exercise. This is good to know for those individuals with hypertension. [6]

According to this study, engage in low to moderate intensity resistance training. It is safe and effective for those who have cardiovascular disease or are at risk of it. [6]

#6 – Improved Brain Function

The benefits of weight lifting even extends to our brains. In short, lifting weights allows us to maintain or even enhance our brain function.

This recent study measured cognitive performance in older individuals after exercising. Older adults who did high-speed resistance exercises had much better cognitive performance. The group that performed balance and stretching exercises showed no significant improvements. [7]

This Harvard article had a similar study. It was a year-long study with two groups divided into weight lifters and stretchers. The weight lifters showed the greatest gain in test scores. Those who had gained the most strength also showed the most improvement. [8]

Resistance training improves overall cognition. It does improve your working memory. [9]

#7 – Improved Balance

Weight training is a great way to improve one’s balance and stability.

Another common issue among older individuals is the risk of falls. By strengthening the legs, elderly individuals showed improvement in their balance and gait. Walking speed and stair climbing ability is also enhanced. [10]

A diverse exercise program is most effective in improving these areas. Resistance training provided the greatest gains in strength and balance. [10]

What next?

Now you’re familiar with some of the amazing benefits of weight training. It’s time to pick up the weights and start training! 

Donald Wilson

Donald Wilson

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