In many people’s minds, fitness is associated with the kind of aerobic conditioning that comes from running on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine. However, the consensus among experts is now that complete fitness includes the strength that comes only from weight-bearing exercise like weight training.

The popular impression is slow to catch up to the science, perhaps because many people associate weight training with bodybuilding and don’t want to look like a body builder. However, there are several reasons to train with weights that can be compelling to the health-conscious person.

When a person reaches his early 30s, his muscle mass starts to deteriorate. This deterioration continues until, by the time the untrained person reaches his 70s, his muscles have shrunken dramatically. This itself may not concern many people, until they consider the consequences.

We need strength for everyday tasks. Even though these tasks may not take unusual strength, when your strength has left you gradually over the years, having significantly less than you used to is dangerous. Falling and breaking a hip is a common occurrence in older people that can be prevented by adequate muscle strength.

Bones are also strengthened by weight bearing on them. Without this weight, bone loss accelerates. This can lead to early onset of osteoporosis and a poor posture. Weight training has been shown to delay, and even reverse, this process. Weight training can also maintain posture by keeping joints aligned and cushioned. There is also mounting evidence that weak muscles lead to a weak immune system, which can make increase the incidence of all kinds of diseases, including cancer. Muscle strength can also reduce the insulin resistance that leads to diabetes.

Weight training promotes the release of human growth hormone. While this is also true of other forms of intense exercise, weight training appears to do this more efficiently than the other forms. Human growth hormone speeds the recovery from cellular damage and enables recovery from injuries.

Weight training also helps with fat loss. Note that this is fat loss, not weight loss. Most people say “weight loss” to be polite, but what they are really talking about is fat. Muscle weighs more than fat so weight can be misleading. Muscle is replace by fat as we age, so even maintaining the same weight as you age makes you fatter, unless you maintain or your muscle mass. Moreover, it is widely believed that, for every 10 pounds of muscle we have, we burn 500 calories per day just to maintain it. Thus, just carrying muscle also makes it easier to minimize fat accumulation.

These benefits are all possible with consistent use of a home gym.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Braun has been using, selling, and writing about elliptical machines,treadmills, and home gyms for decades.