Reasons You Should Strength Train: What The Studies Show

Lower Body Fat

A 2009 study found that the average woman who strength-trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly 2 pounds of muscle and lose 3.5 pounds of fat. 

Women typically don’t develop big muscles from strength training because, compared to men, women have significantly less testosterone that cause muscle growth or hypertrophy. Thus, strength training does NOT make you bulky.

Better mood and increases confidence

Strength training and exercise in general decreases depression because the act of exercise produces mood-improving neurotransmitters such as:

Endorphins – Intense excitement and happiness

Dopamine – Pleasure

Norepinephrine – Alertness

Serotonin – Mood and Satisfaction

One study found that people who did three strength workouts a week reported an 18% drop in depression after 10 weeks. In addition, exercise reduces the stress hormone cortisol levels, potentially relieving feelings of anxiety and agitation.

Maintain your muscle

Resistance training has been proven to optimise fat loss and muscle maintenance while losing weight. This is especially important if you want to maintain your fitness level, physical activity, and overall function.

Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 70, women lose an average of 22% of their total muscle. What’s even more upsetting is that over time, the muscle void is often filled with fat. 

One pound of fat takes up 18% more space than one pound of muscle, so even if the number on the scale goes down, your pants size might go up.

Lowers your risk of injury

One study including 7,738 athletes found strength-training programs reduced the risk of injury by 33%. It was found to lower the risk of injury in a dose-dependent manner, meaning for every 10% increase in strength-training volume, there was a 4% reduced risk of injury.

Strength training helps improve the strength, range of motion, and mobility of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This can reinforce strength around major joints like your knees, hips, and ankles to provide additional protection against injury.

Helps you develop better body mechanics

A 2017 study published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research concluded that doing at least one resistance training session per week, performed alone or in a program with multiple different types of workouts, produced up to a 37% increase in muscle strength, a 7.5% increase in muscle mass, and a 58% increase in functional capacity (linked to risk of falls) in frail, elderly adults.

Strength training benefits your balance, coordination, and posture, according to past research. Balance is dependent on the strength of the muscles that keep you on your feet. The stronger those muscles, the better your balance.

Helps keep the weight off for good

A 2017 study from Journal of Obesity found that, compared with dieters who didn’t exercise and those who did only aerobic exercise, dieters who did strength training exercises four times a week for 18 months lost the most fat which is about 18 pounds, compared with 10 pounds for non-exercisers and 16 pounds for aerobic exercisers.

Your body demands more energy based on how much energy you’re exerting when you do strength training and it keeps your metabolism active after exercising, much longer than after an aerobic workout. If you have more muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories even in your sleep.

Protects your bone health and muscle mass

According to Harvard Health Publishing, at around age 30 we start losing as much as 3-5% of lean muscle mass per decade due to ageing.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that just 30 minutes twice a week of high-intensity resistance and impact training was shown to improve functional performance, as well as bone density, structure, and strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass and it had NO negative effects.

In a 2014 Journal of Family and Community Medicine study, just 12 weeks of strength training with squats increased lower spine and femur (thigh) bone mineral density by 2.9% and 4.9%, respectively.

Improves your mental health and resilience

Strength training provides an opportunity to overcome obstacles in a controlled, predictable environment, increasing mental resilience, according to findings from Harvard Medical School.

A UK study involving 150,000 participants found that subjects who were classified as having low combined cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength had 98% higher odds of experiencing depression and 60% higher odds of experiencing anxiety.

A 2014 review published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology shows that even just using low to moderately heavy weights lighter than 70% of what you can lift for one rep has anti-anxiety effects.

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