Do you hit the gym to get stronger and build up your muscle tone? Great, but did you know that regular strength training can do much more than build muscle? The list of strength training’s benefits is long and includes not only positive effects on your body, but many on your mind and overall health, too. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted on the effects of strength training and the data show some surprising results. Curious? Then grab a Protein Cookie and don’t miss this list. Because from now on you’ll have even more reasons to power through your next strength training workout!
#1 You become more mobile
Strength training and mobility – do they go together? The answer is yes! In a systematic review, scientist Kieran O’Sullivan and his team have shown that, in addition to targeted mobility training, eccentric strength training can also increase one’s range of motion. An eccentric movement is one in which the muscle lengthens under tension. As for its advantages, eccentric training is thought to cause new sarcomeres to form, increasing the flexibility and range of motion of the muscle. A sarcomere is the smallest subunit of muscle that contracts during an exercise. Sounds complicated? In practice, it’s quite simple! For example, in an eccentric squat, you would go low for 3 to 5 seconds in a slow, controlled manner, and come back up normally. It pays to try it out!
Sleep is sacred! If you don’t sleep well or sleep too little, it negatively affects your performance, your mood, and even your eating habits. But we have good news. A recent study by the American Heart Association found that strength training can significantly improve your sleep quality and duration. The study compared several exercise groups. One group did strength training 3 times a week, the second group focused on cardio training only, and a third group combined both strength training and cardio. After 12 months, the strength training group on average fell asleep easier and slept longer compared to the others.
#3 You live longer
We’re all looking for a long and healthy life. According to a Penn State College of Medicine study, strength training is thought to help older people live longer. As part of the study, researchers followed participants for 15 years. Older adults who strength trained at least twice a week were 46% less likely to die than those who did not. Of course, other factors such as diet or habits play a major role in a healthy lifestyle, but strength training also seems to benefit our health.
#4 You protect your bones
Strength training not only builds muscle mass, but also protects your bones. According to a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, a 30-minute strength training session twice a week had a positive effect on bone density and structure. Strength training also works the musculoskeletal system. Your bones, ligaments, and tendons become noticeably more resistant and efficient. This is one more reason to keep up your regular strength training into old age.
#5 You improve your mood
How do you feel after your workout? Pleasantly tired, exhausted, and even a little happier? That’s no coincidence! Happiness hormones are released when you work out. This is true for any kind of training and exercise. There are also studies, however, that emphasize the effect of strength training in particular. For example, after 12 weeks of strength training, subjects reported a significant improvement in mood compared to the control group. In addition, participants reported a decrease in tension and anxiety.
#6 You burn more calories in everyday life
If you keep up with your strength training regularly, you build extra muscle mass. Muscles consume a lot of energy, so, in other words, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Even when you’re just relaxing on the couch watching a movie. That’s why strength training is a great way to lose weight. A study in the Obesity Journal confirmed this. Researchers compared three groups that were all in a calorie deficit. The first group did not exercise, the second group did only cardio, and the third did strength training. After 18 months, the strength training group lost the most fat compared to the others.
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