Weight training is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world. The training aims to improve strength, power and endurance, as the ability to lift heavier weights is developed alongside the capacity to sustain activity for longer periods of time. Weight training can be done via lifting weights or through bodyweight exercises in calisthenics, and can be done either from home or at the gym; both are forms of resistance training. For those wishing to help others achieve their weight training goals, there are certified personal trainer courses that are widely available.
Here are some of the benefits of regular weight training:
1. Increased bone density
The average human’s bone mass decreases by roughly 1% every year after turning 40, as the body begins to reabsorb calcium and phosphate from bones rather than storing these minerals in the bone. This increases the threat of osteoporosis and the chance of bone-related injuries, such as fractures. Weight training has been shown to slow down bone loss and, in some cases, can even go as far as to rebuild it. Weight training develops bones as it puts repetitive stress on them and these exercises cause cells responsible for bone reconstruction to begin the process of restoration, making them stronger and denser. Studies have shown that higher-impact activities are more effective as bone growth is stimulated by the muscle pulling against the bone.
2. Increases strength and endurance
Weight training can increase both strength and muscular endurance. Strength is the maximal amount of force able to be exerted in a short period of time, whereas endurance is the ability to perform tasks and movements over an extended period. Both methods are useful for increasing capability in real-life situations, for example when moving house; heavy objects such as furniture will require more muscular strength and the never-ending carrying of boxes back and forth will require more muscular endurance. Weight training for strength often entails lifting a heavier mass for fewer repetitions, while endurance requires completing more repetitions but with a lighter mass.
3. Improves body composition
Weight training will burn calories and by burning calories, a subject will augment their capacity to increase fat loss and gain muscle, therefore improving body composition. Weight training also helps to increase resting metabolic rate, as when metabolism increases, an individual will begin to burn more calories when they rest each day than they did previously. Scientists estimate that humans burn around 6 calories a day per pound of muscle, regardless of any extra exercise completed, and a major aim of weight training is often to reduce levels of body fat while increasing muscle. Muscle’s metabolic rate is around three times that of fat’s therefore the higher the level of muscle mass compared to body fat, the better metabolism is for burning calories when resting.
4. Improves mental health
As one method of improving mental health the Mental Health Foundation recommends participating in regular physical activity; weight training is one form of activity that is endorsed as it has been found to decrease depression and anxiety in those who train frequently. A study conducted by Colombia University found a positive correlation between muscular strength and self-esteem in men, suggesting weight training can provide an important boost to an individual’s mental health. This finding was deemed to be due more to societal values rather than any biological differences however the association is still salient. Physical activity triggers the body to release more endorphins, promoting stimulation of the feel-good factor in the brain and elevates mood.
5. Improves quality of sleep
The World Health Organisation recommends adults get 8 hours of sleep per 24 hours, however many surveys have consistently found that over a third of adults miss out on 100+ minutes of advised sleep each night. As mentioned earlier, common by-products of weight training include a reduction in anxiety and stress, plus enhanced body composition through loss of fat. Both of these benefits contribute to increasing the capacity to improve the amount and the quality of sleep a person gets. When stressed the brain releases hormones that prevent the body from being able to relax and hence thwarts an individual’s ability to sleep well or for the necessary period of time.
There are plenty of benefits of weight training and it pays to consider this as a valid method of improving overall wellbeing.