The benefits that many of us derive from weight training are diverse and categorical, so I'm inclined to view them in two conveniently defined categories:
- Wellness, self-esteem and mind-body fusion and:
- Remediation and alleviation of injury or chronic health conditions
The distinction is that the first category is about preventing disease, staying physically and mentally fit, longevity, building good body image, doing sport, socializing and having fun; and the second category is more about treating diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome and quite a few more chronic disease states for which weight training has shown benefit.
When I've finished listing all the benefits of weight training I think you'll be surprised. I even surprised myself when I finally got them down on paper. Just about all of the benefits on this list are supported by some scientific study by health of fitness professionals or decades of practical experience; or else are just plain obvious. Okay, here we go.
Weight Training for Wellness and Mind-Body Fusion
Preventive health and the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle and body image are the core concepts in this category.
Bodybuilding, Shaping, Sculpting and Competing
Some people get such self esteem and confidence out of bodybuilding, shaping and toning, and powerlifting, including competition, that many of the other benefits are almost secondary for them. It becomes a way of life and a satisfying one at that.
Try these Top Ten Exercises.
You know about this one. Exercise of 30-60 minutes each day helps to keep weight in check, especially if combined with a healthy, energy-neutral diet. Weight training is an essential part of the mix, enhancing muscle strength, tone and bulk and contributing to an efficient metabolism.
Strength and Balance
As you gain strength, joints and muscles work more efficiently together to increase your functionality all round including balance, flexibility, stamina and injury prevention. Weight training is heralding a revolution in the maintenance of functionality into older age. The muscle mass decline and the unsteadiness that goes with ageing may not be as inevitable as once thought.
Bone Strength and Density
Did you know that losing weight by calorie restriction alone can produce a decline in bone mass and density? Weight training is the ideal companion for any weight loss program because it helps maintain bone density while you're dropping those kilos. Muscle building and impact exercise strengthens bone by muscle and tendons impacting on the bone at the attachment points and producing growth stimulation.
Boost Wellness, Immunity and Sleep It sounds like a tough call doesn't it? To do all these things with weight training, but let's look at it. Regular exercise tends to improves sleep patterns; that's no revelation. Moderate exercise and good sleep both enhance immune function. Put it all together with weight training and you'll do well.
"Wellness" is a catch-phrase for good health and being fit, energetic and resistant to disease. Regular, progressive weight training as part of an exercise ethic can improve your self-esteem, confidence and may help to prevent or even remedy depression.
Try the Quiz on Weight Training Benefits and Myths from the About Exercise guide Paige Waehner.