Most people probably associate weight lifting with those impressively toned and sculpted bodies of people who never miss a day at the gym. While bulging biceps and toned six-packs are certainly one outcome of a rigorous weight training regimen, there are also several unexpected benefits of weight training.
Even if you’re not interested in looking like the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, the weight training benefits for your overall health might be enough of a reason to finally get you into the gym. Below, we take a quick look at some of the ergonomic and general health benefits of weight training for people of all ages and sizes.
What Are Some of the Unexpected Benefits of Weight Training?
Of course, regular weight training is a way to build muscle mass and improve physique. But did you know that weight training is connected to improved mental health and lowered risk for diabetes?
Here are four of the unexpected benefits of weight training:
- Improved Mental Health:
The connection between regular exercise and better mental health is well established. A recent study by the University of Harvard found that people who suffered from mild to severe bouts of depression saw significant reductions in their depression-related symptoms if they lifted weights at least twice a week. Not only does weight lifting often force you into shared social spaces for healthy interaction, but it also increases blood flow to the brain. This increased blood flow is associated with the release of mood-enhancing brain hormones such as norepinephrine and dopamine, helping to keep you both mentally and physically fit.
- Lowered Risk for Type II Diabetes:
As of 2015, over 400 million people around the world were said to be living with diabetes, one of the most prevalent chronic diseases. While most people associate dietary and nutrition changes as the best way to avoid diabetes, weight lifting has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, thus reducing the probability of developing type II diabetes. Excess carbohydrates can be stored in your muscle mass. Thus, by creating more muscle mass through a regular weight training routine, you lower the risk of those carbs jumping into your bloodstream which can heighten your glucose levels.
- Heart Disease Prevention:
The CDC reports that heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death across the United States. While getting in your cardio exercise is certainly an important part of overall heart health, recent studies have determined that just one hour of weekly weight lifting can also play a major role in improving your heart health. The study stated that a regular weight lifting routine can reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome (a combination of symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and elevated blood sugar that raise the risk of heart disease) by 29 percent.
- Delayed Onset of Dementia:
For seniors or people over 50, weight lifting can also play a major role in helping to stave off the onset of dementia. One recent study found that elderly people who weight train at least twice a week had improved cognitive function. Resistance training is linked with thickening your brain’s gray matter, thus reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of early onset dementia.
Weight Training as a Way to Reduce the Risk of Workplace Injuries
Weight training may also play a major role in helping to reduce the risk of workplace injuries. This is true both for people who engage in physical tasks while at work and for those who spend long times in a sedentary office-type environment. Weight training for both shift workers and office workers can thus improve both physical and mental health of your employees, reduce the likelihood and incidence of workplace injuries, and even boost productivity levels.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science:
“In all job groups significant improvements were documented regarding health outcomes. These were job group specific: neck pain was reduced among office and computer workers, dentists, industrial laboratory technicians, health care workers as well as fighter pilots. Cardio-respiratory fitness—a health risk indicator for cardio-metabolic diseases—was improved among office and computer workers, health care workers, and construction workers. Additionally, other improvements were evidenced such as increased muscle strength and balance control. Importantly, productivity increased with improved muscle strength and decreased body mass index.”
Encourage Your Team To Get Fit With Work-Fit
Getting your employees to adopt a regular weight training routine can be difficult. Work-Fit is a leading company that offers injury prevention and management for your workforce. We are the nationwide leader of applying sports medicine techniques in the workplace to prevent injuries and increase your company’s bottom line. Our ergonomics program can help your business generate savings on worker’s compensation by identifying the root cause of recurrent musculoskeletal disorders and injuries that keep valuable workers away from the job. Our workplace wellness professionals can incorporate regular weight training, job conditioning and other activities to help your workforce stay fit and healthy while also improving overall productivity levels.
To get started in helping your employees become more physically active in the workplace, contact Work-Fit today to learn about how we can help your team!