The Long-Term Health Benefits of Weight Lifting

Last Updated on May 24, 2020 by Sam Corbin

a man lifts weights outdoors

A lot of people are nervous about weight lifting because they do not fully understand the long-term benefits of this exercise. Many people assume that weight lifting is bad for their health in the long run, but this is not actually the case.

There are a lot of health benefits of long-term weight lifting that you should know about which could change your mind about this type of exercise.

Your Bone Health

A lot of people do not think about the health of their bones until there is a problem. Keeping your bones healthy is important and will have a major impact on your overall health.

When you have healthy bones, the rest of your body will function better and you will lower the chances of bone-related ailments in the future.

Weight lifting will help to keep our bones health by creating force on them. This force will challenge the bones and ensure that they remain strong. It is important to remember that your body has to adapt to survive and your bones become stronger to withstand these forces.

When you strengthen your bones, you will reduce the risks related to osteoporosis. This is important because after the age of 30 everyone starts to lose bone density which results in osteoporosis. This is particularly important for women as they make up 80% of all cases of osteoporosis.

Disease Prevention

While keeping your bones healthy, weight training will also help you keep disease at bay. The risk of certain conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases is lowered when you exercise. As weight lifting is a form of exercise, it will help you with this, according to the research community.

When looking to help the heart, waistline and your mental health, most people will turn to running as it is one of the tried and tested exercises for this.

However, weight lifting does offer the same benefits to these areas. Research done into the effects of weight lifting have shown that the stronger you are the more resilient you are to disease and the overall risk of mortality.

In order to get the full long-term benefit of weight lifting in this regard, you will need to be consistent. Many people also recommend incorporating weight lifting into other exercise routines.

Adding weights when you run or do aerobic exercise can increase the benefits.

Weight Loss

a woman shows off her flat stomach after losing weight during weight lifting

A lot of people start exercises to lose weight and weight lifting is generally not seen as the first option. However, weight lifting can help you lose weight and keep the weight off in the long-term. This is due to the fact that weight lifting will boost the metabolism which is what helps you burn the fats that you ingest.

When you weight lift, you are going to be increasing your muscle mass. This will generally occur after your body has become used to the initial weight training and the body has adjusted to the new heavy loads.

To cope with the increased weight that you will use at this point, the body will increase the mass of your muscles to make them stronger.

When you have more muscle, you are going to burn more calories which results in weight loss. Muscle is an active tissue which burns more energy even at rest when compared to fat. When you do cardio exercise such as running, your body will burn calories for the time that you exercise and a little while after.

Weight training is different as the body does not reach the same burning levels as cardio, but will burn calories for longer after the training because of the additional muscle mass.

Of course, when you look at weight loss through weight training, you need to keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat. Most people will find that their clothing size will decrease, but their weight will stay the same with weight training.

This is down to the weight of muscle versus the weight of fat. You will continue to lose clothing sizes because fat is less dense than muscle and needs more room while weighing the same amount.

Lowers Inflammation And Regulates Insulin

While you are keeping the chronic diseases at bay, weight lifting will also help you regulate your insulin levels and reduce inflammation. This is important for people who already suffer from certain chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.

Weight lifting will help your body burn through glucose which helps you manage our blood sugar levels without the need for larger amounts of insulin.

a rack of dumbbells in the gym

Many people do not realize that weight lifting reduces inflammation which is a marker linked to a number of diseases. There are studies which show that weight lifting sessions done twice a week will result in a reduction of inflammation in people who are overweight.

The primary study into this was done with overweight female participants, but it is believed that the same will happen for men.

It is important to note that experts are unsure as to the reason why weight lifting helps to reduce inflammation. More research will need to be done to determine this, but at this point, it is important to know that it does.

Improves Mood, Sleep, Posture And Energy Levels

There are other long-term benefits of weight lifting that you need to know about such as boosts to mood, sleep, posture and energy levels. Weight lifting, like other exercise, will cause a flood of endorphins in the brain which improves your overall mood. When your mood is boosted, you will also feel an increase in your energy levels.

a woman wakes up in a really good mood and faces the sun

When it comes to posture, weight lifting is often better than other types of exercise. This is due to the fact that you need to maintain correct posture and position when weight training to avoid injury.

When you lift over a prolonged period of time, your body will become used to this improved posture and this will remain when you are not training.

Getting a good night’s sleep is important if you want to be at peak health. The problem is that most people do not actually sleep very well, but weight lifting can change this. Weight lifting will tire your body which improves the sleep that you get.

As you progress with your weight lifting, your body will become used to the restorative sleep and this will become the usual.

Improving Endurance

While weight lifting will improve your strength, it will also improve your endurance. As your body and muscles become stronger, this will impact other aspects of your physical activities with endurance being the primary one. When your leg muscles are stronger, you will be able to walk or run for a longer amount of time.

It is not only your legs that benefit from the improved endurance. The rest of your body will also be boosted which can help you complete a range of tasks for a longer period of time. You will also find that you do not become as tired as quickly in daily life because of the boost to your endurance levels.

It is important to note that this benefit of long-term weight lifting will primarily be seen when completing other exercises or activities. If you are going hiking, you will notice that you can carry more for a longer time.

Improving Balance

Balance and weight lifting are two things that people do not generally group together. However, weight lifting will improve your balance in the long run and this is very important, particularly for older people.

a guy does a summersault on the beach

As you age or when you are inactive, your balance will reduce which will increase the risks of falls and other balance-related injuries.

Your balance is improved by weight lifting because of the posture for this training and the additional strength in the legs. When you do not exercise, your muscle mass will deteriorate and this will reduce the legs ability to maintain balance.

Weight lifting will increase the muscle and reduce the deterioration as you age which will help you maintain your balance.

If you are older, it is very important that you look at this benefit because balance and strength are clinical markers used to determine functional dependence.

If you are unable to maintain balance or have reduced strength, the risks of falls and fractures will increase.

A Confidence Boost

While a boost to your confidence might not seem like a health benefit, it is very important to your mental health.

When you are more confident, you will feel better about a lot of the other aspects of your life. You will also feel more capable of dictating the terms of your daily life which is important to improved mood and happiness.

Getting Started

If you’re brand new to working out or lifting weights, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. There are some programs out there that can walk you through in-home workouts, like DailyBurn or Beachbody On Demand (read our review), but if you prefer going to a gym, then you may benefit from hiring a personal trainer.

Another option is finding a great home gym – see our list of the best home gyms to find an option that may work well for you.

Final Thoughts

There are many long-term benefits of weight lifting that will keep you healthy. It is important that you understand what these benefits are to better determine if weight lifting is right for you.

If you determine that weight lifting is right for you, you need to ensure that you are doing this correctly to get all of the benefits.