Fitness Articles

Learn to Love Strength Training

Improve Your Health and Your Appearance


For every additional pound of muscle you gain, your body will burn about 50 more calories each day. A study by Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, showed that a woman who strength trains two or three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.75 lbs of muscle and loses 3.5 lbs of fat.

And Johns Hopkins researchers found that while aerobic exercise burns more calories at the time you are exercising, your metabolism returns to normal about 30 minutes after you finish your workout. Individuals who perform strength training, however, elevate their metabolisms (burn more calories) for two hours after their workouts end.

4. Strength training increases bone density.
A study conducted by Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D. of Tufts University found that strength training increases both muscle mass and bone density. Dr. Nelson’s research showed that women who lifted weights did not lose any bone density throughout the study, and actually gained an average of 1% more bone mass in the hip and spine. Non-exercising women lost 2% to 2.5% of bone mass during the same period of time.

Another University of Arizona study showed a 3% increase in spine and hip bone mineral density after an 18-month strength training program among women, ages 28 to 39.

5. Strength training counteracts depression.
In a study of 32 men and women who suffered from chronic depression, Nalin Singh, M.D. and Tufts University associates divided the individuals into two groups. They directed half to perform strength training while the other half received health information. After three months, 14 of the 16 members who lifted weights felt better and no longer met the criteria for depression.

A Harvard study also showed that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling alone.

6. Strength training reduces sleep difficulties.
Ten people in Dr. Singh’s strength training group (see reason 5, above) also reported sleep difficulties at the start of the study. After 12 weeks, six of the 10 reported they no longer had trouble sleeping—they fell asleep more quickly, slept more deeply, awakened less often and slept longer.

7. Strength training reduces your risk of diabetes.
Adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes is a growing problem, with over 14 million Americans suffering from the condition. Research shows that strength training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23% in just four months. As muscles contract and relax during exercise, they use sugar for energy. To meet this energy need, your body uses sugar supplies in your blood, reducing your blood sugar levels.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

    Great list of reasons to strength train. It is insulting and misleading however to show pictures of women holding Barbie weights. Five related articles shown in the side bar and not a single woman is holding more than a 5-pound weight. - 10/14/2014 10:56:49 PM
  • I do not strength train, but after reading this article I am going to start! I am amazed at all the benefits! WOW! - 12/3/2013 10:43:27 AM
  • A sister article with more explicit instructions would be nice. These are all great points, but what counts as strength training? how much, how often?
    I'm confident that my program is giving me the gains I want, but I know too many women that thing heavy lifting is bad. - 12/3/2013 7:23:01 AM
  • Good information. I will push myself to do more strength training! - 9/17/2013 10:17:15 AM
    I have been strength-training at least five days a week for several months now, and have noticed a real difference. My arms have better tone, and I've done so many squats and lunges that my thighs and hips are much stronger. However, strength training will NOT get rid of the "batwings" any more than crunches will give you a six-pack. Those "wings" are just loose fat, and you have to reduce that, with diet and cardio, before you'll be able to see those triceps you've been toning! - 9/17/2013 1:14:55 AM
  • Great info. I have to start back with my strength training. - 8/8/2013 7:44:14 PM
  • Strength training is more than just "pumping iron" or using dumbbells. Once I realized that, I wholeheartedly embraced it! Don't get me wrong, I do use the weight machines at my Y, but I also take a group class in strength training and have learned many things I can do at home without having to fiddle with machines. - 5/28/2012 1:57:02 PM
  • Awesome article! Started Weights 3 months back and feel 1000x better! At 50, I have re-ignited a love of pumping iron lost since my mid-20's! - 5/21/2012 11:08:43 AM
    Don't understand why women are so afriad of strength training. And why many refuse to up their weights.

    love it and love the fact that this big girl uses weights that younger, guys can't use. Makes my day when I out lift them and no I did not bulk up .

    Why do women think they have to only use wieghts 10lb and under, come on over to the big wieghts.

    Don't really use anything under 20 lb, execpt for shoulders then its 15. - 1/20/2012 12:07:31 PM
  • Thank you for this amazingly informative article. I will think of this article the next time I am thinking of skipping my strength training session! - 1/21/2011 1:53:26 PM
    you got me! Great info and challenge. I'm gonna start strength training in the morning and now am really super motivated to do it! - 1/17/2011 10:08:04 PM
  • thanks for the terrific information. I recently increased my lifting. I have determined it has caused an increase in my appetite. I eat more on those days. I think it would be a good idea to add a tip on how to manage the increase in hunger int your article. - 1/17/2011 8:16:17 PM
    Thank you for a very interesting article with so much information included. I am saving it to my "favorites" file for future reference. I already follow a regular strength training routine (and have done so for years), and experience its healthy benefits on a daily basis. - 1/17/2011 7:33:46 AM
  • LYSTRA52
    When I read the Article about Strength Training, I realize that it make more sense to the
    story. I have tried any exercies that I could think of but Strength Training is one of the best. I loved the Weight Training. I feel great, fit and strong. - 1/17/2011 12:37:01 AM
  • Thanks for this article. Strength training is one thing I love, but I've been having a hard time fitting it into my schedule. This article reminded how important it is and I'm going to make sure I make time for it. - 1/12/2011 3:41:06 PM

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