By Sean Zucker –
Think of weightlifters and an image of yoked-up bodybuilders can come to mind. But the truth is that pumping iron offers far more benefits than crafting a Schwarzenegger bod. In fact, new research suggests that lifting weights could be a great anti-wrinkling strategy.
Researchers from Ritsumeikan University in Japan, in fact, recently went beyond just weightlifting to examine how various training methods impact skin health. The team started by recruiting 56 middle-aged women who were previously physically inactive. These women were then split into two separate workout groups. One section rode a bike for 30 minutes a day twice a week, while the second group lifted weights during an identical window.
The university’s researchers determined the impact of the different exercises by analyzing each participant’s skin cells before and after the 16-week trial period. The scientists found that both lifting weights and cycling improved skin elasticity, which is a positive because it helps the skin bounce back into place after being stretched for whatever reason.
However, there was one major difference between the two groups. The researchers noted that the women who lifted weights thickened their dermal layer, while those who cycled did not. This thickening ultimately provided a significant skin boost by lessening sagging, reducing pigmented spots and generally supporting a more youthful look. Plainly, a thickened dermal layer helps prevent wrinkles.
The team admittedly was less certain as to why pumping iron thickened dermal layers, but the study suggested the weightlifting may decrease blood inflammation and can have a positive impact.
Of course, if these results aren’t enough to encourage mature and younger adults to hit the bench, lifting weights offers plenty of other benefits. The workout, of course, boosts standard muscle development and physical endurance. Maturing individuals may stand to generate benefits that go beyond this.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, reports that weightlifting can help older individuals maintain bone density, improve balance and coordination, enhance mobility, reduce the risk of falling and support independence in performing daily activities.
The CDC adds that these benefits in turn can help individuals ward off a wide net of diseases and conditions often associated with aging. By reducing pain and stiffness while increasing strength and flexibility, lifting weights can help combat arthritis. Improvements in bone density also help aid against osteoporosis. By enhancing cardio health, moving iron can even help prevent the risk of heart disease. Like most workouts, weightlifting can combat obesity as well.
While lifting weights might seem like a recipe for disaster for older adults, the CDC maintains if properly approached weight training can actually lower back pain by strengthening abdominal muscles to reduce stress on the spine.
In short, weightlifting is not solely a young person’s exercise. Remember, Arnold Schwarzenegger is 76 years old—and he could probably still lift a bus. The years Arnold spent strength training may even help explain why he appears so much younger than his age.