Weight training, or strength training, isn’t just reserved for bodybuilders and serious gym-goers. While cardio is promoted as one of the most important things you can do for your body, weight training is just as beneficial, but it is often overlooked. The benefits of strength training go far beyond looking good in your clothes or having the perfect summer body.
Let’s talk about five major benefits of lifting weights.
5 Awesome Benefits of Lifting Weights
Improves Physical Fitness
Perhaps the most obvious, strength training will improve your physical fitness level and your physical work capacity. Strength training increases your stamina, which means you’ll be able to work harder and longer at various activities and be able to perform activities of daily living, known as ADLs, more easily. Lifting weights a few times a week will make carrying a 20lbs bag of dog food a whole lot easier.
Have you ever wondered why bodybuilders seem to eat a lot of food but never gain any fat? The reason for this is because gaining muscle mass increases your resting metabolism. For every new pound of muscle mass, your resting metabolism rises by 30-50 calories. In other words, if you replace 5lbs of fat with 5lbs of muscle, you will increase the number of calories you burn while resting by as much as 250 calories per day.
Lowers Blood Pressure
As a long-term benefit, lifting weights can lower blood pressure. The process of tearing and rebuilding muscles increases blood flow to them, and as they strengthen, it takes less work to make them contract. This means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard and the result is a lower overall blood pressure along with a lower resting heart rate. Now remember, weightlifting is exercise, so during the process of your workout, your heart rate may rise as your body exerts itself.
Improves Bone Density and Strength
Weightlifting doesn’t just affect your muscles; it also affects your bones. There’s a direct correlation between strong muscles and strong bones, and strengthening your bones can help minimize the risk of bone fractures. Weight training works the same way for bones as it does for muscles. The process of stressing your bones will push bone-forming cells into action, resulting in denser, more resilient bones. Strength training also targets the hips, the spine, and the wrist, which are the bones most likely to fracture as you age.
Last, lifting weights can strengthen posture and improve coordination. Not only will you stand up straighter and taller, but you will also feel more flexible and more balanced, too. For the most part, people who experience bad falls can attribute the incident to poor balance or weakened muscle fibers. Strength training two to three times a week can improve both of those things.
Starting a new weight training program can be daunting if you’ve never lifted weights before, but weightlifting is incredibly beginner-friendly, and there are tons of different workouts to choose from. Whether you start with kettlebells, free weights, or the weight bar, implementing a regular weight-lifting routine can be highly beneficial to your overall health.