Strength training is the best way to improve your health
It can be hard to sort through the noise and confusion of the health, fitness and nutrition worlds. But one truth backed by research and supported by experts is that strength or resistance training is the best thing you can do to improve your overall health. There are three key reasons why, and all relate back to one concept: Muscle is the organ of longevity. If you care about not only lifespan but healthspan, building and maintaining muscle must be a priority.
1) Physical benefits
Let’s start with the physical benefits as some of these may be the most obvious. Having more muscle makes life easier when it comes to both activities of daily living and your recreational pursuits. These advantages get so much more important as we age, as age-related sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) becomes a prime concern and reduces an individual’s ability to keep moving or perform tasks of everyday life that were once simple. Strength training is also a vital component in the maintenance of bone density, good posture and the reduction of aches and pains from poorly coordinated or repetitive movements.
2) Metabolic benefits
The metabolic benefits of strength training are well studied and cover a wide range of health systems as well. Increased metabolism from increasing muscle mass has two huge factors. First, it makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight and burn calories more effectively at rest. Secondly, increased metabolism lessens the risk factors for common metabolic diseases – including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Both the act of strength training and the addition of lean muscle mass through strength training help the body to regulate blood sugar (glucose) more efficiently and lead to improvements in insulin sensitivity. And strength training is shown to be vital in hormone regulation and testosterone production for both genders, having huge benefits in mood and energy levels.
3) Brain health
Finally, we’ll look at strength training from the lens of brain health. We know that strength training helps to balance the neurotransmitters in the brain. Mostly this comes from the increase in endorphins, dopamine and serotonin and the reduction in cortisol. Managing this vital group of hormones leads directly to improved mood, focus and energy.
Most longevity experts agree that exercise, particularly strength training, is the first and most important key to living a long healthy life. Largely, this is because exercise improves your health at the cellular functioning level. Improving at the very core of cell functioning allows for improvements through your body to radiate to larger, more macro levels you can feel. While the search continues for a “pill” that can mimic the effects of strength training, we know that the work we do in the gym is vital to helping you live your best life. To doing life, better.
“Your entire life happens inside your body. It’s the one home you will always occupy and can never sell. But you can renovate it. If you can only pick one habit to build, exercise might be the one. Everything is downstream from how your body is functioning.” – James Clear
Author Jeremy Hyatt, MS, CSCS is a personal trainer and co-owner of Hyatt Training. He believes it’s important to start with the basics and move from there. Too often, people get into complicated movements and goals before they have the proper fundamentals, which can lead to negative results. Jeremy has been working in the fitness industry since 1995 and co-founded Hyatt Training in 2011.