Start Lifting Weights Today
Joe Fleming provides ten reasons why you should start lifting weights consistently.
What is your favourite way to workout? If you are like most people in the world, your workout of choice is some cardiovascular exercise. One survey found that, globally, walking, running, and cycling are the top three of exercise.
There is nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned cardio session. But, if you are not pairing your cardio with some weight lifting, you are missing out on a lot of great health benefits.
Listed below are ten reasons why you should start lifting weights consistently.
Build More Lean Muscle
The adage "muscle weighs more than fat" is not exactly accurate -- a pound is a pound, no matter what it is made of. That being said, muscle is denser than fat and takes up less space in your body.
When you lift weights regularly, you can increase your muscle mass. This means you will likely look leaner and smaller, even if the number on the scale does not decrease. If you want to lose inches and look good in your skinny jeans, lifting weights ought to be a priority.
Burn More Calories During Other Workouts
When you increase your muscle mass, you also speed up your metabolism. This means you can burn more calories as you go about your day and when you participate in other workouts.
Muscle is more metabolically active -- meaning it burns more calories -- than fat. Experts estimate that each pound of muscle burns up to 30-50 extra calories per day, while a pound of fat burns about two calories.
Improve Your Bone Density
Even if you are already taking supplements for healthy bones, lifting weights can help further strengthen the bones and prevent age-related damage.
This one is especially important for women, who tend to see a dramatic decrease in bone density as they get older and go through menopause.
Weight training can play an important role in increasing and maintaining bone density because it places added stress on the bones which cue the body to rebuild them even stronger.
Lifting weights are especially good for increasing bone density in the hips and lower body. This can help protect you from dangerous fractures as you get older.
Simplify Daily Life
Cardio is fantastic, but, beyond walking, it does not translate into everyday life very well. How often do you have to run at your job or while you are taking care of chores around the house? Probably not a lot. How often do you have to pick things up and move them, though? Probably quite a bit.
After you add weight lifting to your routine, you will likely find everyday tasks that used to be challenging become easier. Whether it is picking up your kids or carrying groceries into the house, lifting weights will help you feel stronger and more capable in all aspects of your life.
Feel Happier and Less Stressed
All forms of exercise can help improve your mood and minimize your stress levels. However, weightlifting is especially beneficial for people who deal with chronic stress or mood issues.
Being able to lift heavy weights and overcome physical challenges can help you feel strong and empowered in other aspects of your life. Research also shows that, after stressful situations, people with more muscle mass have an easier time regulating their blood pressure than people who lack muscle.
Improve Your Heart Health
In addition to helping you regulate your blood pressure, regular weight lifting can also help lower your blood pressure altogether.
The results of one study showed that people with high blood pressure were able to lower their systolic and diastolic blood pressure by two and four percent, respectively, and maintain it after lifting weights consistently for at least four weeks.
The key to improving blood pressure while lifting weights is to make sure you are not overexerting yourself (lifting to failure) and getting plenty of rest in between sets. If you are dealing with stage 2 hypertension (160/100 or greater), be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any lifting program.
Who does not want to live longer? Lifting weights can help you get there.
Having more muscle mass has been shown to decrease our chances of dying prematurely.
Lifting weights not only helps you live longer, but it can help you live better. Since you will also have greater bone density and an easier time performing everyday tasks, you will likely be able to live independently longer and be less reliant on medication.
Experience Better Cognitive Function
Lifting weights are not just about getting stronger and leaner (although those are, of course, great benefits). Lifting weights can also help you feel smarter.
Research shows that people who lift weights consistently experience better cognitive function. Their short-term memory and long-term memory both improve, as do their verbal reasoning and the length of their attention span.
Whether you need to be more focused and productive at work or want to stay sharp as you go through your other daily activities, weightlifting seems to be a good tool you can utilize to achieve these goals.
People who participate in any exercise regularly tend to experience better sleep than those who do not. Research has shown they wake up less frequently during the night, and they are more likely to wake up feeling refreshed.
Regular weightlifters may experience even better results, though.
This is because sleep is necessary for muscle repair and muscle growth. The majority of your human growth hormone (which is needed for muscle repair and growth) is secreted while you are in a deep sleep.
After you have had an intense weightlifting workout, your body will be more ready for sleep so that it can repair itself.
Strengthen Balance and Reduce Injury Risk
Finally, regular weightlifting can enhance your balance and coordination.
By lifting weights regularly, you will strengthen your ligaments and tendons and have an easier time moving through your life without worrying about injuries. This is an especially significant benefit for older folks, for whom falling is the most common cause of fatal injury.
Even if you do fall or stumble, though, you could be less likely to experience a severe injury if you make weight lifting a priority. This is because your body will be more resilient and better able to recover.
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About the Author
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Passionate about healthy lifestyles and living a full life, he enjoys sharing and expressing these interests through his writing. To inspire others and fight ageism, Joe writes to help people of all backgrounds and ages overcome life's challenges. His work ranges from articles on wellness, holistic health, and ageing to social narratives, motivational pieces, and news stories. For Joe, helping others is vital.