Benefits of Resistance Training


I believe regular Resistance Training to be the most influential lifestyle choice a person can make if wanting to improve and maintain good health. One key benefit I have experienced with clients is Resistance Training’s influence on their body fat percentages. 

Dr Edward R Laskowski, MD of the Mayo Clinic explains the relationship: “If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body. But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age.”

What the good Dr Laskowski expects you to have is prior knowledge to the fact that as you age you naturally lose a percentage of your lean muscle mass. However as I wrote in a previous post, Muscle Mass As you Age the rate at which you lose muscle is influenced directly by your activity, and you never lose the potential to lay down new muscle tissue. The adage of ‘Use it or Lose it’ may be true but I like Dr Wayne Dyers line ‘You can set yourself up to be sick, or you can choose to stay well.’

I find women are sometimes hesitant to incorporate Resistance Training in to their exercise routine due to fear of putting on too much muscle and ‘bulking up’.  Dr Jory Basso quickly clears up this common misconception

"Testosterone is the primary ‘muscle building’ hormone within the body and men produce up to 20 times as much as women. Therefore unless you, as a female, are lifting really heavy weights (low rep/high set) and consuming a diet really high in animal protein and calories – it is really hard to add muscle ‘bulk.’’

Resistance Training or Strength training as it is often referred to, will provide many other benefits other than its influence on muscle mass and weight control. We have covered the first one but I also agree with the next four of Dr Oz’s  5 Benefits of Lifting Weights

  1. Increased Bone Strength - Women tend to have less bone density through aging than men. Lifting weights can aid in the increase of bone density which can help slow or reverse the effects of osteoporosis.

  2. Better Stability- Falling can be fatal. Though nothing guarantees that you won’t fall, weight training will ensure stronger muscles, which means more stability. The majority of those who experience bad falls is usually associated to poor balance and weakened muscle fibers.

  3. Improved Daily Activities - Lifting weights will force your muscles to work more efficiently. Everything we do requires some kind of physical movement. These movements include sitting, standing, running, walking, sleeping, lifting, pulling and other daily movements. Lifting weights can help you achieve proper execution of these complicated movements.

  4. Lowered Blood Pressure - In the long term, lifting weights can reduce your blood pressure. You will not only create beautiful muscles, you will stimulate increased blood flow to the muscles you are using. As your muscles strengthen, it takes less work to make them contract, which means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. This lowers your blood pressure and resting heart rate. However, while you’re in the midst of lifting your blood pressure may temporarily rise, so people with uncontrolled high blood pressure or significant heart problems should check with their doctors before starting a weight-lifting program.

There is however one significant benefit he’s failed to list and that is Resistance Training’s influence on the metabolic condition Insulin Resistance.  As stated on the website of the Dietitians Association of Australian Insulin resistance is a medical term referring to the hormone insulin not working as effectively in the body. Insulin Resistance is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. The symptoms of which are listed on the Diabetes Australia website. In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all, while other signs are dismissed as a part of ‘getting older’. By the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the complications of diabetes may already be present. Symptoms include: 

  • Being excessively thirsty
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually putting on weight
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy

My Final Word

My professional life is based on the ideal ‘prevention is better than cure’.  Resistance Training is just one of the many tools at your disposal to reduce your risk of developing many preventable health conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and Obesity. Don’t dismiss its importance and relevance to your well-being regardless of your age and present level of condition.

Wishing you great health and much happiness,

Important: This article is general advice only. For further advice or information on this topic, please consult your health professional.
Category: Fitness

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