We have discussed in lengths the benefits of strength training and now, a recent study in May, published in the FASEB journal from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, provides further evidence for picking up some weights. The study results suggest that weight training changes the internal biochemistry of our cells to promote the breakdown of fat within fat cells. To simplify…

….. lifting weights doesn’t just build muscle; it also burns body fat. 

Another recent study in June 2021 published in PLOS Medicine, suggests that people who regularly complete muscle-strengthening exercises are about 20 to 30 percent less likely to become obese over time than people who do not, whether they also work out aerobically or not. It’s long been recognized that one of the best ways to change your body composition is to strength train using weights, resistance training tools or even just body weight exercises.

As we get older, we tend to lose muscle – approximately 7 pounds of lean tissue per decade with this loss accelerating after the age of 40. As a result, our strength and endurance is reduced, our metabolism drops resulting in weight gain, our bone density is lowered, our posture and alignment deteriorates, our balance falters, and we experience an increase in general aches and pains. Bottom line – it is absolutely critical to our overall health that we do whatever we can to maintain our muscle tissue by participating in muscle conditioning exercise at least 2 to 3 days per week. 

Many physiologists and researchers are deeming Muscle Conditioning to be the true Fountain of Youth – the magic “pill” to reverse or prevent a significant portion of the aging process.  Many of the changes people experience as they age are due to a loss in muscle mass due to inactivity…not just aging itself!  So, if we can maintain a significant amount of muscle tissue as we age, we can expect to age much more slowly. 

Here’s a list of some of the research and benefits of strength training:     

Increased strength between 7.5-226.7% – that’s a huge increase!

Increase lean tissue weight by 3 pounds after 8 weeks of strength exercise. Remember that each pound of muscle you have on your body will burn an additional 30-40 calories every day. This raises your metabolic rate – in fact, by 7%. So, if you gain 3-4 pounds of muscle this equates to 90-160 extra calories you’ll be burning every day just by having more muscle on your body. This makes it so much easier to maintain your body weight and keep your body fat levels at a minimum.

Lose 4 pounds of fat weight after 3 months of strength exercise, while eating 15% more calories.

Increase bone mineral density after 4 months of strength exercise (important for reducing risk for Osteoporosis). In one study, it was found that women over the age of 40 who strength trained not only didn’t lose bone mass but they experienced a 1% gain in bone mass.  

Improved posture – most postural problems can be treated by following a structured muscle conditioning program that strengthens weak muscles

Increase glucose uptake 23% after 4 months of strength exercise (important for reducing risk for developing diabetes).

Increase gastro-intestinal transit time 56% after 3 months of strength exercise (important for reducing risks for colon cancer).

Reduce blood pressure after 2 months of strength exercise.

Improve blood lipid levels after strength training (Important for those with high cholesterol).

Reduce low back pain after 10 weeks of specific strength exercise.

Reduce arthritic pain after strength training.  One study reported a 59% decrease in joint pain.

Increased walking speed by 48%

Increased climbing power by 28%

Decreased risk of falling. One study of women over the age of 40 found that sedentary subjects experienced an 8% decline in balance while those women who strength trained, demonstrated a 14% improvement in balance scores.  

This extensive list of benefits should motivate you to commit to lifting heavy things at least 2-3 times per week. You’ll start moving with better strength, posture, balance, coordination and agility and your performance in your recreational pursuits will be enhanced significantly. Strong is the new SEXY!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan


Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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