Fitness Articles

Top 10 Reasons to Strength Train

Why Pumping Iron is Good for You, Inside and Out

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5. You'll build stronger bones. We may not think of them as such, but bones  actually comprise living tissue that get stronger with exercise. With regular strength training and other forms of weight-bearing exercise like walking and running, you actually improve the health and strength of your bones by improving or maintaining (depending on your age) your bone density. Lifting weights has even been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and related fractures. 

6. You'll reduce your risk of diabetes (and improve your quality of life if you have diabetes). Regular strength training at a moderate intensity helps prevent diabetes in a number of ways. First and foremost, lifting weights helps improve the way the body processes sugar. Researchers have also found that weight lifting helps to improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. Additionally, as stated above, resistance training improves heart health by controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which play a role in diabetes management. Researchers have also found that when people with diabetes lift weights, it can improve their quality of life, too. If you have diabetes, check out SparkPeople's Diabetes Workout Plan.

7. You'll lose more weight and look slimmer. Besides burning more calories and boosting your metabolism, lifting weights will also help you to lose more body fat. A study from Penn State University found that, on average, people who lift weights lose six more pounds of fat than those who don't pump iron. Again, it all comes down to muscle. When you cut calories and start exercising, your body has to pull energy to fuel your body from somewhere. When you're just focusing on dieting, the body uses fat for energy, but it also breaks down muscles for fuel (which is not a good thing). When you combine weight training with a reduced-calorie diet, however, you are actually helping to build and maintain muscle mass while you're losing weight. As a result, your body pulls more energy from your fat stores to keep you going, so you lose more fat while preserving muscle--a win-win!

8. You'll stand taller. If you are following a full-body strength training plan, don't be surprised if you start noticing yourself standing with better posture. Lifting weights can help to improve your range of motion, coordination, and the strength of the muscles that help keep your body upright. So just a few weeks of strength training can help you to stand taller, with your shoulders back and your chin up, which makes you appear more confident and look even slimmer!
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • I can honestly say that adding strength training to my workouts has been such a game changer. Pretty much everything the article mentioned as a benefit, I have experienced. Body weight exercises can be done anywhere, and many of the moves can be modified. Build slowly, you will be amazed by the difference. Yesterday I had to purchase heavier dumb bells, five years ago I would never have imagined this would be necessary. It is powerful to exercise our strong! - 5/15/2016 7:50:38 AM
  • Wonderful! Great article. Very informative! Thanks so much!!! - 5/3/2016 1:08:00 PM
  • Fantastic write!! Bursting with great information~ applause,applause
    !! I'm passing it on to my Healthy Hearts team!!
    Thank You again! - 4/15/2015 7:40:08 PM
  • Thanks for sharing. - 11/28/2013 5:27:50 AM
  • I saved this to go back to in the future. - 11/23/2013 2:35:51 PM
  • I used to use the karate dummy in my picture for resistance training and it worked really well; it was a very excellent whole-body workout. But I found that the workout made me feel kind of beat up sometimes; my joints tended to hurt. Then I learned that if I also did a weight program my body handled the karate dummy workout a great deal better; so much so that I would not recommend doing the karate workout I did without also doing weights. So in my experience, weights do strengthen a great deal more than just muscles. And now at 59 my joints still work as well as ever and are free of pain, even after all the abuse I gave them from my intense karate workouts. - 11/23/2013 10:52:51 AM
  • What volumes of good information on this page. I bookmarked it to return to it and look at ALL of it. Thanks. - 1/18/2013 4:21:21 PM
  • Thank you for the article. Very useful for motivation for not-so-excited-to work-out-days.
    - 11/27/2012 5:03:53 PM
    Oh yeah all the benefits mentioned here work for me but there are two great benefits that you all forgot to mention and should be an added incentive for all those who are yet to start working out. Your appetite for two of life's greatest pleasures will increase manifold - food and sex! You will start enjoying eating guilt free while your taste buds explode after a good workout and well since your internal blood circulation is at it's peak, the pleasure that one derives from sex is just going to be a helluva lot more intense, powerful and stronger! www.allianceonemu - 11/22/2012 3:45:24 AM
  • J-HALL
    I have always wondered if the strength training I do "counts" since it's in the pool. I use the biggest buoys I can handle and do enough repetitions of upper and lower body exercises to the point where I can't do any more. It's a real workout for me. Do you think it counts as strength training? I do :)

    THX! - 3/20/2012 10:35:35 AM

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