Yes, you’ll get stronger and more toned – but those aren’t the only reasons to strength train. Scientists continue to discover benefits of strength training or resistance training. It can be done using light weights, elastic bands or even your own body weight (think wall push-ups, mini squats and calf raises). Here are four more good reasons to start.
- It reduces pain. A small study, published in the July 2012 International Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that men with rheumatoid arthritis affecting their knees had a 23 percent reduction in pain intensity after following a three-day-a-week strength-training program for eight weeks. Other studies show strength training relieves the pain of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, too.
- It increases range of motion. Another small study, published in the December 2011 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that participants who practiced resistance training three days a week for five weeks had the same flexibility improvements as those who did a regular stretching routine.
- It blasts calories – even when you’re not working out. Muscle burns calories, so adding muscle mass naturally amps up your calorie burn. In fact, an analysis of several studies, reported in the July-August 2012 Current Sports Medicine Reports, shows the number of calories you burn at rest rises about 7 percent after several weeks of resistance training.
- It boosts bone density. Women lose up to 50 percent of their bone tissue in their lifetime, about half of it within 10 years after menopause. By age 65 or 70, men begin to lose bone mass at the same rate as women, according to the National Institutes of Health. Lifting weights can help slow that loss and increase bone density, according to a 2015 review in the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association.
- Dance Away Joint Pain
- How Exercise Helps Your Joints
- Learn more about the benefits of exercise for arthritis