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  • Writer's pictureNate Johnson

4 Health Benefits from Strength Training

No matter who you are, strength training is for you! It is the most important lifestyle intervention for improving your quality of life, body composition, and long term health.

While it is fun to chase numbers on your lifts, lifting weights as a habit throughout the course of your life is a powerful prescription.

But how exactly does strength training improve health? Today, we’ll be going over 4 reasons why strength training can drastically improve your health like nothing else can.

Physical inactivity is a major issue for a large portion of the population. It is the fourth greatest global risk factor for death behind high blood pressure, tobacco use, and elevated blood sugar.

In light of this, you can see why it's so important to stay active. According to the 2020 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, every person should engage in full body resistance training at least twice a week. Unfortunately, only 19-26% of adults and 20% of teens meet these guidelines.

With these stats in mind, it's apparent that more people need to do strength training! But you might be wondering what’s so magical about it? While it isn't magic, it IS powerful. Without further ado, here are the 4 health benefits Strength Training provides.

Strength Training Increases Muscle Mass

Beyond helping you look good in the mirror or in your clothes, increasing the amount of muscle mass on your frame has tremendous carry over to your well-being.

First, it helps you stay independent throughout your life. When you train to strengthen your muscles, it makes everyday activities a lot more manageable especially as you age. Even if you face other health issues during your life, maintaining strong muscle mass can keep you capable and mobile. It also means that you’ll have no problem playing with your grandkids!

If you do have other health issues at play, having lots of muscle mass gives you a greater physiologic reserve. In other words, other diseases or illnesses are easier to fight off or handle when your body has more muscle mass. So if you ever did have to go to the hospital, those muscles you build in the gym will really help you out.

Building a foundation of muscle mass also makes burning calories easier as well. If weight loss is one of your goals, increasing the size of your muscles also increases your resting energy expenditure. What this means is that even at rest, your body burns more calories than you otherwise would if you had less muscle.

As you can see, having plenty of muscle mass is SO much more than just looking good!

Strength Training Lowers Blood Pressure

In terms of health markers, strength training has a significant effect on lowering high blood pressure. Just to give you an idea of scope, 1 in 3 adults meet the criteria for the diagnosis, and less than half of all who are hypertensive stay adequately controlled with medication or lifestyle changes. For reference, a normal blood pressure is 120 mmHg/ 80 mmHg, slightly elevated is between normal and 130 mmHg/ 80 mmHg, and hypertensive is greater than 130 mm Hg/ 80 mm Hg.

If you have ever been to the doctor and have been told that you have high blood pressure, then you know how important it is to reduce it! As far as what we do here at Steel, strength training is one of the best prescriptions for reducing your blood pressure and keeping it under control.

In a 2018 study, data from 197 clinical trials were analyzed to examine the effects of resistance training on individuals with high blood pressure. What they found was that those who resistance trained decreased the top number of their blood pressure by 7.83 points. That’s very significant considering the fact that those who were only taking medications decreased their top number by 8.8 points. However, when strength training and some endurance training were combined, the top number dropped a whopping 13.5 points!

Needless to say, lifting weights and staying active is one of the best prescriptions for lowering blood pressure.

Strength Training Lowers Blood Sugar

High blood sugar, like high blood pressure, is a significant problem among the general population. As we mentioned before, it is among the top 3 risk factors for mortality as it can lead to other complications down the road. If you maintain an elevated blood sugar for long enough, you may be diagnosed with diabetes. Of all of the things you can do to take action, strength training should definitely be one of them.

For you nerds in our readership, strength training has a unique effect of lowering blood sugar thanks to what is called a GLUT-4 receptor. This is a protein that transfers sugar out of your bloodstream and into your skeletal muscle. When you strength train, this transferring effect drastically increases and lowers your blood sugar as a result.

More generally speaking, strength training also significantly increases your insulin sensitivity, meaning that your body will break down the sugar in your blood more effectively.

Strength Training Helps You Burn More Calories

This is a big one, as many of our clients are actively seeking weight loss.

Alongside a well-balanced diet, strength training can help maintain your progress by increasing your energy expenditure. While diet has a more significant effect on weight loss than activity levels, strength training can help you shape your body using the calories that you're taking in through the food you eat.

Like we addressed earlier, resistance training strengthens and grows your muscles. As a result, with more muscle mass on your body, you now burn more calories than you did before! So instead of only trying to modify your diet, continuing to strength train will allow you to eat more food while still maintaining a calorie deficit.

This can be HUGE for weight loss because it means that you don't need to be as hungry to lose weight. Instead of cutting out 700 calories from your diet, you only need to maintain a deficit of 400 as you are burning that extra 300 calories due to your work in the gym.

What strength training also does is increase what’s called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). These are the subconscious fidgets, foot taps, and other minor movements you make during your day without thinking. As you become more active and begin strength training, your NEAT levels increase automatically. This means that without even thinking about it, you begin to burn even MORE calories!

I hope that we have built a strong case that makes you ready to strength train! If you’re already strength training, then keep plugging away and you can see these benefits for yourself. If you need to get started, then join the party!

CLICK HERE and fill out the form. We'll reach out within 24 hours to schedule a zero-pressure phone call to see if we're a good fit to work together!

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