Natural bodybuilding, in which you change your physique and strength through frequent exercise, can be an exhilarating and satisfying sport. Bodybuilding means that the changes you make to your body can produce beneficial and possibly harmful long-term effects.
Your muscles and bones can benefit, and these gains can stay with you into old age. However, with long-term bodybuilding, you risk developing overuse injuries and can even put your cardiac health at risk.
Maintain Your Muscle Mass
Long-term bodybuilding changes your body composition. Through resistance training, your body becomes stronger and leaner. Not only is this change a positive adaptation for your short-term health, but it can also help as you age. With age comes a loss of muscle mass and strength attributed to sarcopenia, the natural and normal decline in muscle with age.
According to an article in ACE Fitness loss of muscle mass could begin as early as 35 and without regular physical activity. Maintaining muscle mass and strength can help you live independently and increase your quality of life and are among the benefits of bodybuilding.
Read more: The Effects of Lifting Weights Everyday
Increase Your Bone Density
Increased bone mineral density is another long-term positive effect of natural bodybuilding. Resistance training initiates a stimulus that signals your body to increase your bone density. By putting strain on your bones, your body adapts by making your bones stronger. Aging leads to a decline in bone strength, especially for women, that can develop into osteoporosis. When your bones lose strength, they become brittle and are susceptible to fracture.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests muscle-strengthening exercises, which include lifting weights, to maintain bone density. Doing so lessens your risk of osteoporosis. In addition, those who continue to exercise throughout the aging process can expect to see an even greater reduction, or even reversal, of bone loss.
Read more: What Is Healthy Bone Mass?
Healthy and Safe Training
A negative effect of bodybuilding is often the development of overuse injuries. Bodybuilding puts a significant strain on the joints, especially when you lift enough to induce hypertrophy.
To reduce the likelihood of an overuse injury, follow healthy and safe training procedures by using proper form for each lift. You can also cut down on injury with proper training techniques, such as splitting your routine, so you don't overwork your muscles.
Protect Your Heart
Natural bodybuilding, when performed in moderation, could reduce the risk of heart attack by 40 to 70 percent according to research published in 2018 by Iowa State University. Two sets of bench presses are enough to strengthen your heart muscle without putting undue strain on it.
Scientists advise a gym membership only because people tend to exercise more. And the variety of machines open up choices for those days you don't feel the oomph to tackle the barbells often associated with bodybuilding.
In addition, consider adding some cardio to your program. Aerobic exercise, such as running or biking, can help strengthen and protect your heart.