Hitting the treadmill is good for everything from your heart to your mood—but if you’re not also strength training on a regular basis, you’re missing out on some major health benefits. Keep reading for some amazing reasons to hit the weight room.
You’ll improve your sex life
Low libido? Strength training can help contribute to a testosterone spike, fueling sex drive, while your increased strength will improve stamina.
You’ll sleep better
A half hour of strength training can ensure a more peaceful night’s sleep, researchsuggests—exercises like bicep curls and leg presses done in the morning helped college students fall asleep 45 minutes faster and sleep through the night, in one recent study.
You’ll feel younger
Once you hit 50, you have a one-in-three chance of developing sarcopenia, a syndrome that causes a loss of muscle max and strength. The best way to keep it at bay? Start strength training now, according to a 2014 review of studies in Age and Ageing. Weight lifting will help you maintain your muscle function and strength as you age. “The sneaky part of this syndrome is that you really don’t notice it until it comes to a point where you’re so functionally impaired that it’s hard for you to get out of your chair, or you slip and fall,” study author Jeffrey Stout, PhD, tells DailyBurn.
You’ll strengthen your bones
It’s not just your muscle mass that will benefit from strength training—studies have foundthat it’ll improve bone strength too, possibly helping to reduce the risk of falls and the impact of fall-related injuries in older adults.
Your kids can benefit too
Early healthy habits can go beyond eating vegetables—a 2014 study of over 1,400 children 10-12 years old found that strengthening activities like rock climbing and push-ups help children and teens reduce their risk of heart disease and diabetes. Kids with greater strength also had lower BMIs, less body fat and higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.
You’ll trim your waistline
Twenty minutes on the treadmill or in the weight room? If you’re trying to target your abs, the latter is the way to go—research published in 2014 found that men who did 20 minutes of daily weight training had a smaller increase in age-related belly fat than men who did daily aerobic workouts.
You’ll burn calories even when you’re not doing it
Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so putting on muscle mass through lifting or bodyweight exercises will make it easier to burn off dessert, no emergency after-dinner trip to the gym required.
This post originally appeared on Care2.com.