Resistance training has numerous health benefits, but many people choose to forego it in their training plans or simply neglect exercise altogether. That is a terrible idea, one that has marginal consequences in youth but is harmful as an adult and into old age. Here are five important reasons to add resistance training to your life today.
You will gain muscle
Muscle naturally declines at a rate of 3-8% after the age of 30. Unfortunately this trend only continues to worsen once past 50, where a decrease in muscle ranges from 5-10% (Westcott, 2012). Because of this natural decline due to aging, it is important to reverse or slow down the process through resistance training. Studies show that two or three nonconsecutive days of resistance training per week can increase muscle mass in adults up to 100 years of age (Westcott, 2012).
Your bones become stronger
Bone loss occurs at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40 (Harvard Health). A decrease in bone mass means that bones are more likely to break or fracture during daily living activities. Nearly 10 million people in the United States suffer from osteoporosis. A simple fall can leave one with a broken or fractured hip, which 6 out of 10 people never fully recover from in old age (Harvard Health). Resistance training has been shown to decrease bone loss, with numerous studies showing that it can reverse the process. A reversal of bone loss through resistance training also means enhanced muscular health, balance, and as a result, increased independence later in life.
You Will Age Better
Studies have shown that resistance circuit training has a positive effect on age-related factors. One study showed that mitochondrial content increased, resulting in improved health and well-being (Westcott, 2012). Incredibly, another study showed that a reversal in gene expression was so profound that participants (mean age 68) matched the mitochondrial characteristics of an average 24 year old after 6 months of resistance training. “The favorable changes observed in 179 genes associated with age and exercise led the researchers to conclude that resistance training can reverse aging factors in skeletal muscle” (Westcott, 2012).
Your resting metabolic rate increases
Resistance training has two important impacts on your metabolic rate. First, resistance training increases muscle mass, necessitating more energy/ calories to maintain the tissue. Second, microtraumas from resistance training can require up to 72 hours of extra energy for “muscle remodeling” (Westcott, 2012). Research suggests that a few weeks of resistance training can have a significant impact on your metabolic rate. A higher RMR means that your body will burn extra calories while at rest, helping you keep off the unwanted weight and keep on the lean tissue.
Resistance training also enhances your resistance to Type-2 Diabetes by increasing insulin resistance and glycemic control (Westcott, 2012). Additionally, studies have shown resistance training to be at least as effective as aerobic training at increasing cardiovascular health (Wescott, 2012). Lastly, health benefits related to blood lipid profiles and blood pressure have also been linked to resistance training.
Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Strength training builds more than muscles. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles
Westcott, Wayne. (2012). Current Sports Medicine Reports: July/August 2012 – Volume 11 – Issue 4 – p 209-216. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2012/07000/Resistance_Training_is_Medicine___Effects_of.13.aspx doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8