Lifting weights, or resistance training, has numerous benefits to the muscles and skeleton that are uniquely attributed to this form of training.
There are some cognitive benefits associated with exercise in general, but this FAQ entry will be more focused on what resistance training can give that other forms of exercise cannot.
Resistance training is a form of training where the muscles and skeleton are pit against a large force, either induced by external resistance (lifting weights) or by gravity (maximal jumping or sprinting). Resistance training tends to be focused on power, and tends to be anaerobic (intense) in nature.
Anything with maximal exertions can be considered resistance training. Things like Tennis and racquetball show some benefits as well due to some strides being full exertion, but weightlifting tends to have the most dramatic effects.
Most notably weight lifting, but all forms of resistance training, can increase muscle mass.
This can reduce the occurrence of sarcopenia (the age-related decline in muscle mass not associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines) when elderly, although all activity can reduce rates of sarcopenia, resistance training seems most effective.
Exercise in general tends to be associated with better bone mineral density and/or bone width in athletes when compared to a non-athletic control group. Greater bone health and an exercise regimen are inversely associated with falls in the elderly, which suggests that exercise is a good preventative measure.
In older age, those who practice Sprinting have been shown to have better bone density and size relative to jogging and walking activities. Although beneficial bone adaptations seem to be better in the young, they can still occur even if one starts a physical exercise program later in life.
It should be noted that swimming does not tend to increase bone density or mass, as the person is suspended in a pool of water rather than actively forcing power against gravity. It may increase bone health slighty in some persons, but is much less reliable than other forms of exercise.
Involvement in exercise for at least 150 minutes a week in associated with a reduced risk of diabetes in men, with a protective effect existing for both aerobic exercise and weight training with persons participating in both having least risk.
- Why do my muscles get sore?
- Low-fat vs. low-carb? Major study concludes: it doesn’t matter for weight loss
- Can hypothyroidism lead to fat gain?
- Does aspartame increase appetite?
- How do I stay out of "starvation mode?"
- Measuring body fat percentage: It's an accuracy thing
- Is my “slow metabolism” stalling my weight loss?
- Does eating at night make it more likely to gain weight?
- My muscles are not sore after a workout. Am I working out hard enough?
- The lowdown on intermittent fasting
- I'm not too tired to stuff my face
- Does diet soda inhibit fat loss?
- Will eating breakfast keep you lean?
- Do you need to detox?
- Can you lose weight by turning down the heater?
- Does daily weighing help you lose weight?
- How do I get a six-pack?
- Is it really that bad to skip breakfast?
- Will my breasts shrink with weight loss?
- How does protein affect weight loss?
- What should you eat for weight loss?
- Exploring chia seeds for weight loss
- Can food have negative calories?
- I am a female. Will lifting heavy weights make me bulky?
- 5 little-known facts about protein
- Will lifting weights convert my fat into muscle?
- Is weight lifting bad for kids?
- How do I lose fat around my belly?
- 3 Science-based steps to curbing your appetite
- Does high-protein intake help when dieting?
- Whey vs soy protein: which is better when losing weight?
- How important is sleep?
- How to minimize fat gain during the holidays
- Does resistance training work for the elderly?
- I have lost significant weight and now have loose skin. How can I tighten up my skin?
- Stepping up weight loss: Can walking help dieters shed fat?
- Is it better to do aerobic exercise fasted?
- Be the tortoise or the hare: it doesn’t matter for fat loss
- Low-carbing for endurance: the oxygen problem
- Are energy drinks bad for you?
- Sarcopenia. Clin Geriatr Med. (2010) Thomas DR.
- Resistance Training Is an Effective Tool against Metabolic and Frailty Syndromes. Adv Prev Med. (2011) Sundell J.
- Resistance training, sarcopenia, and the mitochondrial theory of aging. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. (2008) Johnston AP, De Lisio M, Parise G.
- Physical activity and sarcopenia. Clin Geriatr Med. (2011) Pillard F, et al.
- Sarcopenia and functional decline: pathophysiology, prevention and therapy. Acta Clin Belg. (2009) Bautmans I, Van Puyvelde K, Mets T.
- Exercise effects on bone mineral density, falls, coronary risk factors, and health care costs in older women: the randomized controlled senior fitness and prevention (SEFIP) study. Arch Intern Med. (2010) Kemmler W, et al.
- High-impact exercise promotes bone gain in well-trained female athletes. J Bone Miner Res. (1997) Taaffe DR, et al.
- Effects of different impact exercise modalities on bone mineral density in premenopausal women: a meta-analysis. J Bone Miner Metab. (2010) Martyn-St James M, Carroll S.
- Positive effects of exercise on falls and fracture risk in osteopenic women. Osteoporos Int. (2008) Hourigan SR, et al.
- Effects of physical exercise on bone mass, balance skill and aerobic capacity in women and men with low bone mineral density, after one year of training--a prospective study. Scand J Med Sci Sports. (1998) Kronhed AC, M?ller M.
- Exercise for health for early postmenopausal women: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Sports Med. (2004) Asikainen TM, Kukkonen-Harjula K, Miilunpalo S.
- Effect of specific exercise training on bone mineral density in women with postmenopausal osteopenia or osteoporosis. Gynecol Endocrinol. (2009) de Matos O, et al.
- Effect of walking exercise on bone metabolism in postmenopausal women with osteopenia/osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Metab. (2004) Yamazaki S, et al.
- Bone mass and geometry of the tibia and the radius of master sprinters, middle and long distance runners, race-walkers and sedentary control participants: a pQCT study. Bone. (2009) Wilks DC, et al.
- Effect of long-term impact-loading on mass, size, and estimated strength of humerus and radius of female racquet-sports players: a peripheral quantitative computed tomography study between young and old starters and controls. J Bone Miner Res. (2003) Kontulainen S, et al.
- Effect of swimming on bone metabolism in adolescents. Turk J Pediatr. (2008) Derman O, et al.
- Differential effects of swimming versus weight-bearing activity on bone mineral status of eumenorrheic athletes. J Bone Miner Res. (1995) Taaffe DR, et al.
- A Prospective Study of Weight Training and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Men.