What Are The Long Term Effects of Weight Lifting?

Weight training causes many long-term changes to your body.
Image Credit: Nemanja Jovanovic/iStock/GettyImages

There are many positive effects of weight lifting. Over time, weight training causes beneficial changes in both your physical and mental health. As long as you avoid the potential disadvantages of lifting heavy weights, this type of exercise can be a helpful tool in reaching your health goals.



Weight training causes many long-term changes to your body, according to a September 2012 review in Sports Medicine. Participating in this sport makes your heart stronger and increases bone density while boosting muscle strength and mass.

Immediate Effects of Weight Training

Weight lifting has an immediate effect on your body. For example, it causes a short-term increase in blood flow, according to an April 2018 report in Clinician and Technology.

Video of the Day

In a small-scale study, researchers tested 42 healthy adults and found that weight lifting increased blood flow more in women than in men. The increased blood flow could allow important nutrients to reach dormant areas, which may lead to faster healing and recovery.


Read more​: How to Get Started With Weightlifting

Lifting weights also has an immediate effect on your mind. The author of a May 2015 thesis out of the University of Texas at Austin had 14 college students do four resistance exercises on a single occasion. They found that the weight lifting had a calming effect. It also improved the mood of the participants. These positive effects appeared within 20 minutes. The author only tested a few subjects, and further research is needed to confirm these results.


These short-term effects can lead to long-term changes. The authors of a January 2012 paper published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics tested 30 premenopausal people with generalized anxiety disorder. The patients lifted weights twice a week for six weeks. This approach caused remission in 60 percent of the people studied, decreasing their anxiety.

Thus, weight lifting might be able to play a complementary role in other types of therapy. These studies, though, have only tested a small number of subjects. Scientists need to collect more facts to better understand the effect of combining weight lifting and other treatments.


Delayed Effects of Weight Training

Many effects of weight lifting don't show up for weeks, months or even years. Having fun while you exercise will increase your adherence, according to a January 2016 report in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Weight lifters will see a gradual change in their muscles. Type IIX fibers will gradually become type IIA, according to the review in ​Sports Medicine​. A July 2019 article from NASM noted that type IIX fibers generate force but are energy inefficient. In contrast, type IIA fibers draw from multiple sources of energy, which causes them to perform longer and fatigue slower.



Read more​: Do You Gain Weight When Lifting Weights?

Weight lifting is also a good way to control your waist size, according to a February 2016 cohort study published in the journal Obesity. Researchers looked at the data of 10,500 men and showed that you only need to do a little weight lifting to shrink your waistline. However, doing extra work will lead to even better results.


Possible Risks of Weight Training

Despite the many positive effects of strength training, there are a few disadvantages of lifting heavy weights, specifically. It's difficult, for example, to maintain good technique during power lifting. Bad form can cause soreness and pain.

The Mayo Clinic suggests using less weight to improve your form. They also recommend slowing down and taking breaks. These precautions will decrease your risk of injury.


Read more​: How Often Should I Lift Weights per Week?

In fact, weight lifting injuries have increased over the past years. An August 2019 paper in the International Journal of Sports Medicine looked at the data from 100 hospitals across the nation. Yearly shoulder injuries caused by weight lifting increased from 8,073 in 2000 to 14,612 in 2017. Researchers estimate that this number will exceed 22,000 by 2030. They believe that increased injury awareness may help reverse this alarming trend.


Playing sports increases your risk of developing joint problems, according to a December 2012 review in Rheumatology. Also, the authors of a December 2015 paper in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery studied people with shoulder pain and found that those engaged in excessive lifting were more likely to have shoulder arthritis. Yet, no firm evidence suggests that lifting weights in moderation will cause this issue.

There are several ways to decrease your injury risk, including pacing yourself, getting stronger and losing weight. Following this advice will help you enjoy the many positive long-term effects of weight lifting while avoiding the potential disadvantages of lifting heavy loads.




Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...