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Healthy Men: The benefits of weightlifting

Armin Brott, Tribune News Service on

Published in Health & Fitness

Cognitive Function

Strength training builds strong brains as well as strong muscles and bones. People who lift weights tend to have a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain that helps with verbal processing and memory. According to O'Connor, Herring, and Caravalho, resistance training is especially beneficial to older adults, especially in memory and memory-related functions. Other researchers have found that weight training improves executive function, which is the brain’s capacity to keep us organized and on task.

Social Status

Like it or not, we’re animals. And like most other animals, we have a social structure that in many ways operates out of our control. Here’s how it works: physically strong men tend to be more confident. Confident (and muscular) men tend to be more respected by others, are seen as better leaders and more competent in general. As a result, they’re able to motivate others to work harder, they get more promotions, and they make more money. They’re also seen as more attractive than their less-confident (and less-muscular) brothers. "Studies have demonstrated that people assign positive personality traits to drawings or photographs of mesomorphic (muscular) men and mostly negative traits to nonmesomorphic men,” say researchers Timothy Judge from the University of Florida and Daniel Cable from the London Business School. For example traits ascribed to mesomorphic men were very positive (i.e., best friend, has lots of friends, polite, happy, helps others, brave, healthy, smart, and neat). By contrast ... ectomorphic men were described with a different set of negative traits (i.e., nervous, sneaky, afraid, sad, weak, and sick)."

Future of the Species

 

Besides making men more attractive to the opposite sex, weight training can have an influence on future generations. Weight training gives our DNA an improved capacity to repair itself. That keeps our genes healthy. And since our children get half of their genes from dad, at least some of our healthy genes will be passed on to our children, thereby making them healthier too. In addition, a 2004 study of Danish men found that muscular men had more semen volume, a greater number of healthy sperm, and were more fertile than either skinny or obese men.

Easy Implementation

Tapping into the benefits of weight training isn’t all that complicated. While cardio exercise, almost by definition, can take a lot of time, many experts say that 30-60 minutes of weight training per week is plenty.

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