Bone health declines with age, but weight lifting can help stem the decline and even reverse it

1. You lose more fat

All exercise burns calories, but lifting weights has been found to be more effective in burning body fat.

A US study comparing weight training and aerobic exercise found that participants who did both weight lifting and cardiovascular training lost 40 per cent more fat.

2. Muscles burn calories

One pound of muscle tissue uses up more than twice the energy of one pound of fat tissue.

This means that even when you are out of the gym and in front of a computer, you burn more calories if you have been lifting weights than if you haven’t (nearly ten per cent more than your non-lifting friends, scientists say).

3. It boosts bones

Bone health declines with age, but weight lifting can help stem the decline and even reverse it.

A US study found that four months of resistance training increased hip-bone density and boosted levels of osteocalcin – a protein in the blood linked to bone growth – by 20 per cent.

Bone health declines with age, but weight lifting can help stem the decline and even reverse it

4. For a fit heart

Lifting weights has been found to have a positive effect on blood pressure.

Three total-body weight workouts a week is enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40 per cent and the chance of a heart attack by 15 per cent.

5. It slims the body

Muscles are denser than fat so taking up weight lifting may make you put on weight, but one pound of fat takes up 18 per cent more space on your body than one pound of muscle so it will still get you into those skinny jeans.

6. It helps balance

It is never too late to take up weight lifting, and for older people, lifting can be more beneficial than going for a jog.

Australian scientists noticed a 31 per cent drop in the rate of falls in over 70s a year after they had taken up weight training.

7. It will help you quit smoking

A 2011 study found that smokers of both sexes who completed a 12-week weight-training programme were twice as likely to successfully quit, compared to those who did not regularly lift weights

8. Help cancer recovery

Lymphoedema – a build-up of fluid in the arms and hands – is a potential side effect of breast-cancer surgery and radiation, and can occur months or even years after the treatment.

Research shows that breast-cancer survivors who lift weights are less likely than their non-weight-lifting peers to experience worsening symptoms of the condition.

9. To get happy

Exercise in general raises levels of serotonin, but weight lifting in particular has been found to help balance the mood and make us happier.

Six months of weekly weight-lifting sessions significantly improved test scores measuring anger management and overall mood in a recent study carried out at the University of Alabama.

10. Boost your sex life

After 30, a man’s levels of testosterone begin to drop. Low levels of testosterone can lead to erectile dysfunction and more serious illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

Weight lifting is a great way of reversing the process, as the body responds to compound movement lifts, such as squats, lunges and pull-ups, by producing testosterone.