The short answer is yes. There are swaths of benefits and positive side effects from weight training and strength training aside from just building muscle.
Strength training may also help you:
Develop stronger bones
By putting stress (tugging and pushing that occur during strength training as well as weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking or running) on your bones, you induce bone-forming cells into action. There are numerous studies that show that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, as well as building bone.
- Useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass.
- Can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Manage your weight
Manage or lose weight, as well as increase your metabolism and help burn more calories “compared with dieters who didn’t exercise and those who did only aerobic exercise, dieters who did strength training exercises four times a week for 18 months lost the most fat.”
Improve body mechanics
“Research also indicates that the benefits of resistance exercise extend beyond muscle and tissue growth and include alterations in neurobiological systems relevant to mental health and anxiety-related outcomes” (e.g., cortisol and the HPA axis; Crewther et al., 2011).
Studies show that “resistance exercise produces robust alterations in the biological mediators of anxiety with potentially important implications for mental health outcomes.”
Research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.
Other benefits of strength training
- Reverse aging in human skeletal muscle
- Improve sleep
- Reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions
- Improve blood pressure