One study found that inactive adults lose 3-8 percent of their muscle mass per decade.
So, before we start, let’s clarify…resistance training isn’t just for those interested in bulking like the Gold’s Gym logo (who—fun fact—was modeled after pro wrestler Ric Drasin, training partner to Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Resistance training is for anybody and any body.
So, what is resistance training?
Resistance training is an exercise in which you move your limbs against resistance—provided by gravity, your body weight, dumbbells, resistance bands, etc.—in order to strengthen your muscles and improve endurance.
The benefits of resistance training move beyond enhancing your physical appearance (although it is certainly the crux of a toned bod). From balance and dexterity to mental health—here are some scientifically-backed reasons to consider pumping the iron:
1. It reduces your risk of injury.
Yes, you read that correctly. Some may have big fears of breaking their backs trying to lift an overloaded barbell—when, in fact, if done properly—resistance training can not only strengthen your muscles but your tendons, ligaments and bones as well to improve your resilience to impact.
Whether you prefer trail running, recreational soccer or are simply lifting a heavy object off the top shelf— your body will thank you in the long run for providing extra protection against looming injuries.
2. It increases confidence.
You ever hear about movie stars cranking out push-ups before their big shirtless scene? It’s because you can literally pump your muscles to look bigger right away.
Sure, this may not be a permanent feature—but studies across several demographics confirm that resistance training boosts one’s self-image considerably (you can read about this study involving adolescents or this one about older rural women, if you want to get specific).
This may be because you can see the results of weight training faster than cardio. Seeing that quick payoff will encourage you to keep going and growing stronger.
3. It can make you smarter?
Some studies (such as this one) indicate that resistance training has neuroprotective effects—including reduced inflammation, improved blood flow, and even an increased expression of factors linked to memory and learning.
Therefore, not only does strength training help counteract age-related muscle loss—it also protects against age-related cognitive decline. Cool, right?
Maybe it’s time to buy Grandma some resistance bands for the holidays, and treat yourself to the bundle while you’re at it.
Are you ready to get some gains?
This article was written by Melissa Pelowski.