How Healthy Is Resistance Training (AKA Strength Training)

 

This question was posed to a coach, Darren Beattie, on Quora.com, where he has thousands of followers, presumably built up through the insight shown in his answers to questions on the site.  He gives a comprehensive answer to a question that's not asked often enough.

Darren's response:

  • I’d argue that it’s ‘healthier’ than almost any other kind of exercise for the following reasons:
  • It optimises the brain- body connection for better response and performance.
  • It has very low injury potential relative to many typically chaotic and unpredictable sports 
  • It offers very low injury volume relative to endurance sports (which yield a lot of overuse injuries because of a lot of repetition)
  • Big bang for the buck – less time invested with better results for your health
  • It offers big carry-over benefits to other ‘sports’ and activities of daily living than do other physical activities (including aerobic, cardiopulmonary and cardiorespiratory benefits) 
  • It maintains (and increases) muscle mass.  (We lose it from our twenties, with often drastic consequences - Fitness and Leisure)
  • Strength and Power production have the highest correlation to quality of life as we age (they are also among the best longevity predictors)
  • It improves metabolic pathways (like insulin sensitivity, glucose/blood sugar control, etc… and in fact I’d argue this is it’s main use case for weight/fat loss)
  • It maintains proper mobility/flexibility when done through full ranges of motion in a variety of planes
  • It decreases injury potential in other sports/daily activities (through brain-muscle connection, coordination, stronger bones)
  • It improves aerobic and anaerobic energy system development (output)
  • It improves brain function (through increased oxygenation and glucose uptake)
  • It improves and maintains good posture
  • It combats sedentary life from a variety of angles (heart, lungs, flexibility, posture, etc…etc…)  If you work at a desk or in a job with a very low amplitude (variety of body positioning through the day) it serves to give your tissues more adequate amplitude throughout the week
  • It increases force production and consequently performance in everyday life
  • It’s one of the most complete methods of training for nearly any objective