8 reasons why weight training is amazing for your health

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Christine Hopaluk lost 129 pounds and 14 dress sizes, and the Leduc, Alta. Mother of three says she managed to keep it off for more than a decade through strength training.

“It changed my life. I don’t like cardio but when I first got into weight training I loved it. It’s just a stimulating thing that has helped more than my body, ”Hopaluk told Global News.

When you think of strength training you think of bodybuilders with bulky muscles and chiseled chests, but scientists say resistance training offers incredible benefits for ordinary people who are also hoping for better health.

“We are very familiar with the benefits of aerobic exercise like running, cycling or walking, but we haven’t focused on strength training and strength training. We see them on both ends of the spectrum – one makes you strong and muscular and the other helps you live longer, but that’s not true. The reality is that the two, in terms of health benefits, overlap more than they differ, ”Dr. Stuart Phillips, Professor of Kinesiology at McMaster University and Chair of Canada’s research on skeletal muscle health.

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“I have seen countless transformations of regimented resistance training. Not only from a bodily point of view, but also emotionally and mentally, ”said Dr Brad Schoenfeld, director of the Human Performance Lab at Lehman College in New York.

The two experts have conducted a handful of bodybuilding studies over the past few years.

READ MORE: Want to lose weight and gain muscle? Canadian study suggests the perfect formula

Weightlifting isn’t just about bulking up and building muscle mass, experts say. Its benefits include better posture, better sleep, increased bone density, maintenance of weight loss, increased metabolism, reduced inflammation, and prevention of chronic disease, among a long list of good points.

Here’s a look at why resistance training is amazing for your health.

It keeps your bones strong and healthy

Your bones need to stay stimulated, just like your brain needs to exercise to stay sharp. After about 30 years, you start to lose bone density at a low percentage each year. Keep in mind that women account for 80 percent of osteoporosis cases because they lose bone mass.

READ MORE: Canadian Teens Develop ‘Lazy Bones’ here’s why

“Resistance training builds strength on the bone and helps it stay strong. Your body cares about survival, not about looking cute in a bikini – it has to adapt to survive so that it gets stronger and the bones get stronger to support those forces, ”said Schoenfeld.

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It keeps the disease away

Phillips says the research community recognizes that cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and “all classic chronic diseases”, including cancer, are not as likely with any form of activity, from weight training. at cardio.

Running is said to be good for your heart, brain, waistline, and mental health. This also applies to bodybuilding.

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“A lot of relationships with aerobic fitness are closely related to and reflected in people’s strength. The stronger you are, the more resistant you are to disease and the overall risk of death, ”Phillips said.

It stimulates metabolism and fat loss

Hopaluk started out with cardio, cardio, cardio until she hit a plateau. It was then that she learned about strength training.

“I learned that you can change your metabolism because you burn more calories if you have more muscle. It’s an active tissue, it burns more energy at rest than fat, ”she said.

Phillips uses a thermostat as an analogy: Imagine your body is a house and aerobic exercise turns up the heat for about 30 to 40 minutes while you workout. Resistance training, on the other hand, doesn’t increase the heat as much, but the burn persists for longer.

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Christine Hopaluk lost 129 pounds and kept it for 11 years.


Photo courtesy of Christine Hopaluk


It’s not a stark difference, however.

READ MORE: Your Guide to What to Eat Before and After a Workout

“There is a small advantage,” he says. Strength training, on the whole, however, can help maintain weight and change your body composition.

As Hopaluk gained muscle mass, his weight increased while the size of his dress decreased.

“Muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of feathers equals a pound of bricks, but it’s less dense and takes up less space. I looked at it like building a brick foundation by building muscle,” he said. she declared.

It regulates insulin and reduces inflammation

In addition to warding off chronic disease, strength training causes you to burn glucose, which is good news for people with type 2 diabetes who have to constantly manage their blood sugar.

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READ MORE: Lifting lighter weights is ‘as effective’ at building muscle as lifting heavy weights, Canadian study finds

Lifting weights even helps fight inflammation, a marker linked to many diseases. Studies have suggested that regular resistance training sessions, about twice a week, lead to lower inflammation in overweight women.

But experts say, as of yet, there’s no clear reason weightlifting helps fight inflammation.

It improves posture, sleep, mood and energy levels

Strength training comes with other bonuses as well, according to Brody Thorne, vice president of personal training at GoodLife Fitness.

“Besides the aesthetic, physiological and strength benefits, it just affects the way we feel and the clarity with which we think. Bodybuilding [has] proven to improve a person’s sleep quality, ”Thorne told Global News.

READ MORE: 8 Reasons You Should Aim For 8 Hours Of Sleep Tonight

“I would say most people feel pretty good about their mood and energy… I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t appreciated the changes they’ve seen and especially the women. Most non-exercisers who start a program and can make it a habit start to like, to like, to crave the gym, ”said Phillips.

It improves strength and endurance

Phillips said that as you train your body gets stronger and the effects will trickle down to other aspects of your physical activity.

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“If your legs get stronger, the time you can devote to a walking challenge, on a treadmill, in a hike will be longer. Even very good runners who do strength training actually improve their running efficiency, ”he said.

They are able to run at the same speed while using a lower capacity of their leg strength.

It improves balance and reduces the risk of falling

It is essential for aging Canadians who are struggling with frailty and losing their independence. Strength training, even in older people, provides better balance and strengthens your legs, says Phillips.

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For the everyday Canadian, that means being able to haul heavy groceries up a staircase or help out on moving day. For older Canadians, it also means being able to perform daily activities.

“Your muscle mass really deteriorates with old age. [Strength] is a clinical marker of functional dependence, ”said Schoenfeld.

Keep in mind that falls are a major risk factor for older people.

Fifty percent of seniors who have a hip fracture from a fall do not live more than two years after the incident. With better balance, they would be better equipped to regain balance, Schoenfeld said.

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It builds confidence

Thorne has been lifting weights for about two decades now. Like Hopaluk, he said the exercise was transformative.

“Lifting weights has obviously changed my life and guided my life path. Every day I decide to lift weights and set a new personal best, these things boost my self-esteem and confidence, ”Thorne said. It has also helped him maintain his weight since he was around 20 years old.

Phillips said he lifted about four days a week.

“I’m 50 years old and feel like I’m 30,” he said.

Schoenfeld is also aiming for four days a week.

“I can say unequivocally that lifting weights has completely changed my life in almost every way. So much so that I decided to make a career out of it and educate others about the vast benefits, ”he told Global News.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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