By Emily Miller
Having a balanced diet and exercise routine has constantly been encouraged to improve one’s health, and recent studies show that strength training may have more health benefits than just toning and providing muscle definition.
There is a common misconception that weight lifting has a bulking effect rather than a slimming one, especially among women. The saying “muscle weighs more than fat” helped to create this misleading point-of-view.
According to a Patch article, a pound of fat takes up five times more space on our bodies than a pound of muscle. This means you can gain a pound of muscle and lose a pound of fat, but keep the same weight while shrinking in size and adding definition.
By definition, a strength training routine involves exercises that build up muscles by harnessing resistance against an opposite force. The resistance can come from free weights, or one’s body. Regardless of the resistance, putting more than the usual amount of load on your muscles makes them stronger.
Another common misconception is that strength training is for the young, but studies have discovered new benefits for older people to help maintain and improve their current health status.
In 2012, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference was held in Vancouver, Canada. At the conference, four new studies presented evidence that individuals over the age of 65 should continue to exercise, especially in strength training.
Participants, from all four studies, who were placed in the resistance or strength-training group, saw more than just muscle development and improvement. They also saw improvements in memory and attention, according to a TIMES healthland article
“[Strength-training] not only improves mobility and strength, but as the recent research shows, it appears to boost brain functions as well,” said Alexandra Sifferlin, author of TIMES healthland.
Developing a strength-training routine may help some individuals slim down, while reducing their risk of future health conditions. This, in turn, can lead to lower life insurance premiums.