What are the benefits of weight training?

Weight training is a great way to burn calories, gain muscle mass, increase flexibility, decrease body fat, increase bone density and even enhance cardiovascular fitness.  However, while weight training is most thought of as creating muscle size and super strength, it is important to know that there are many types of strength.  By changing  variables when using the weights individual programs can be created for anyone looking to improve their health. There are motions that are repetitive though out our day, some of which we cannot change.  Weight training is a great way to move our joints through their full range of motion, combat daily repetitive motions (creating improved posture) and feel better over all.
Many people do weight training so they can get those nice lean tone muscles to look good.  However there are many other benefits to weight training as well.  When you build muscle in weight trianing you actually increase your metabolism 30-50 per pound of muscle you gain.  Another reason why weight training is good as you get older is it increases your bone density.  So this is why weight training is not just for men or young people.  Weight training does so much more for your body to keep you healthy and prevent injuries and bone loss.
Strength training is an effective method for losing weight, gaining lean muscle mass, losing body fat, toning the body, and improving your physical fitness appearance. The additional lean muscle mass will improve your overall body structure, strength, and repair system, while increasing your metabolism, resulting in more calories consumed.

As we age, some muscular, connective tissue, and bone structure benefits received from strength fitness training are: keeping or increasing muscle mass and help prevent muscle loss or atrophy, reduce or prevent bone loss, improve posture, stability and balance, maintain a healthy range of motion and flexibility. 

Also just as important, exercising helps improve our state of mind, self-esteem, and well being.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Go to the gym and there are two camps of exercisers. There are the ones who use the cardiovascular machines, and there are the ones who lift the weights. If you fall into the first camp, you may have little experience with weight training or you fear that one day in the gym will somehow morph you into a Hulk-like creature. But if you fall in the latter camp, you need to know that weights aren't just made for 20-year-old guys trying to impress the coeds. There are benefits to weight training-no matter your age or fitness level. Consider these perks:
  • Weight training adds lean muscle mass to your body, which, over time consumes more calories than fat, and therefore, helps keep your weight down.
  • It makes your muscles stronger and better equipped to go through the motions of life. In fact, increasing the strength of your lower back is the top way to avoid lower-back pain.
  • It decreases the aging of your heart, arteries, and immune systems.
  • It's one of the best things you can do to maintain and build bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
  • It will maintain your muscle mass. If you don't do strength-building exercises, you lose 5 percent of your muscle mass every 10 years (the average woman loses 2 pounds every ten years after age 35, the average man 3 pounds).
  • Just doing 30 minutes of resistance training a week has a RealAge effect of making you nearly 2 years younger.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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Gaining muscle is beneficial for weight management and body image. Yes, this is true for women as well as men. Weight training is an extremely beneficial activity. It adds bone mass and strength, and is a great calorie burner. And women don't need to worry about becoming "too big." Unless you have a bizarre hormonal system, you are not going to become bulky or overly muscular. Added muscle enhances your curves and natural shape. Changing your proportions with a little extra muscle makes you look slimmer, and helps increase your metabolism.

Ask a personal trainer at your gym to help you develop a sound weight-training routine for your fitness and strength level. Stick with it and enjoy the benefits.
Weight training not only builds muscle, it may help prevent disease, improve mood and aid in losing weight, says Gabe Clements, C-ATC at Centerpoint Medical Center. Other benefits of weight training include:
  • Increasing overall strength. Weight training improves a person’s ability to perform taxing physical tasks as well as normal, everyday activities—like bringing in the groceries and playing with the dog.  It also increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles and tendons, decreasing risk for injury.
  • Managing weight. Simply having more muscle helps the body burn up extra calories — even when just sitting still.
  • Building up bone density. One of the best ways to control bone loss (which is inevitable with age) is to add weight-bearing exercise to a workout. Increased bone density reduces the risk of fractures, especially in older adults. And protecting the body against osteoporosis may also lead to improvement in  balance, resulting in fewer falls.
  • Helping the heart. “Cardio” exercise isn’t the only physical activity with cardiovascular benefits. A resistance training routine has been shown to lower blood pressure, in some cases as effectively as taking medication. The American Heart Association recommends adults aim for at least two strength training sessions per week.
  • Sleeping better. People who regularly exercise sleep better, and those who work out using weights are no exception.
This content originally appeared online at HCA Midwest Health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.