Your metabolism gets a boost
Having more muscle turns your body into a fat-burning machine. Building muscle mass helps your body burn fat more efficiently at rest. And you just don't develop muscle through cardio the way you do when you are doing strength training.
In other words, the more muscle mass you develop through bodyweight exercises or by using weights and other resistance equipment, the more calories and fat you are blasting even when you're just sitting around watching Netflix or glued to your desk chair. (The amount of calories you burn at rest is referred to as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR.)
You protect your bones
Want to stay active and injury-free all throughout your life? Weight training is an essential. A growing body of research shows doing weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss (or potentially even build bone), and in turn, reduce your risk of osteoporosis and possible fractures down the line.
Your sleep may improve
Resistance training is a natural remedy for sleep issues. One small study in the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online found that elderly people who practiced moderate-intensity resistance training for 12 weeks had better sleep quality compared to older folks who stayed sedentary over a six-month period.
What's more, you may notice you have better energy throughout your day when you take up weight training.
You stay sharp
Building up muscle strength may lead to better brain function. In fact, research has shown that starting resistance training may help older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) improve cognitive function over time. A 2016 Australian study divided 100 older men and women with MCI into two groups. One group was assigned to do resistance exercises twice a week for six weeks, while the other was instructed to perform seated stretching and calisthenics instead. The folks who built muscle by strength training also built their brains: They performed better on cognitive tests than the stretching group, and scans showed growth in specific areas of their brains linked to mental benefits.
You zap stress
While most available research on the effects of exercise on mood focus on aerobic activity, there are studies that zero in on resistance training that have found it can be a worthwhile intervention for people with anxiety.