Lifting weights. Resistance training. Pumping iron. No matter what you call it, strength training is important for boosting the overall health and well-being of people of all ages and fitness levels. While strength training can seem a bit intimidating at first, the health benefits far outweigh any issues you might have about picking up those weights for the first time.
Not convinced that you should give resistance training a go? Here are 10 reasons to get lifting at your next workout!
1. You’ll be better at, well, everything. No, we’re not over-exaggerating the benefits. The physical act of lifting weights (or other forms of resistance) helps your body to increase its muscle mass, which makes lifting anything—not just dumbbells—easier. In addition, regularly lifting weights helps to improve your flexibility, balance and coordination.
2. You’ll burn more calories. You probably already know that the physical act of lifting weights burns calories but did you know that strength training can help you to burn more calories even when you’re not working out? It all goes back to building muscle. It takes more energy (calories) for your body to use and maintain muscle cells than it does fat cells.
3. You’ll improve your mood and handle stress better. Ever heard of “runner’s high?” Well, it doesn’t just apply to running. All forms of exercise, including strength training, have been shown to release endorphins, which make you feel good. Resistance training is truly good for the body and the mind!
4. You’ll help your heart. Strength training is so good for the heart that the Canadian Heart and Stroke Association recommends it as a top way to keep your heart healthy. Studies show that strength training can help prevent heart disease and can even help reduce risks and problems in individuals who already have heart disease.
5. You’ll build stronger bones. We may not think of them as such, but bones are actually comprised of living tissue that get stronger with exercise.
6. You’ll reduce your risk of diabetes (and improve your quality of life if you have diabetes). Regular strength training at a moderate intensity helps prevent diabetes in a number of ways. First and foremost, lifting weights helps improve the way the body processes sugar. Researchers have also found that when people with diabetes lift weights, it can improve their quality of life too.
7. You’ll lose more weight and look slimmer. Besides burning more calories and boosting your metabolism, lifting weights will also help you to lose more body fat. When you cut calories and start exercising, your body has to pull energy to fuel your body from somewhere. When you combine weight training with a clean diet, however, you are actually helping to build and maintain muscle mass while you’re losing weight.
8. You’ll stand taller. If you are following a full-body strength training plan, don’t be surprised if you start noticing yourself standing with better posture. Lifting weights can help to improve your range of motion, coordination, and the strength of the muscles that help keep your body upright.
9. You’ll have better focus. Strength training has also been shown to boost brain health. According to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, older women who did an hour or two of weight lifting each week improved their cognitive function, and better planned and executed a variety tasks.
10. You’ll sleep better. Sometimes, exercising too close to bedtime can make it hard for you to fall asleep. But performing strength training (at least two hours before bedtime) has been shown to help prevent sleep apnea and help with insomnia.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and pick up some weights to start cashing in on these incredible health benefits!
Fitmark Ambassador 2013
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