Everybody is familiar with how important it is to exercise regularly for great health.
However, many people focus on cardiovascular exercise and neglect to add weight training to their exercise program.
Did you know that weight training is one of the best ways to improve muscle tone and to lose fat? There are plenty of reasons to start weigth training today and to reap the benefits of this type of exercise.
Let’s review the many compelling benefits when it comes to weight training.
• Improving your health. Yes, you might start weight training because you want to improve your appearance, but weight training is an excellent way to benefit your overall health and wellness. Scientific research has made a direct connection between weight training and your ability to decrease the risk of osteoporosis and sarcopenia (loss of body mass), prevent injuries due to weak bones and muscle and develop coordination and balance.
It’s not just bone and muscle related health concerns that are affected by weight training. Other research has demonstrated that weight training may help positively affect risk factors such as glucose metabolism, blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol levels.
• Improving your strength and flexibility. Not surprisingly, weight training improves your muscle strength, endurance, size and power. This improvement in these areas helps you with your everyday tasks like carrying parcels or kids, walking up stairs and lifting.
Flexibility also improves through weight training because you are working the muscles through a full range of motion. Increasing your flexibility can protect your from back pain and muscle injury.
• Boosts your metabolism. You’ve probably heard many people blame their weight gain on a poor metabolism. Metabolism is the amount of energy or calories our body burns to maintain its daily functions like sleeping, eating, exercising etc. People who are more muscular have a higher metabolism because muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat.
• Enhancing your sports or athletic performance. If you are a sport enthusiast and enjoy playing certain sports either recreationally or competitively, another benefit is improving your sports performance.
One clinical research study examined cross-country ski athletes to see if strength training increased their endurance.1 The group that was assigned a strength training program three times per week experienced improved strength and improved aerobic endurance than the control group.
• Better State of Mind. It is well documented that as you develop a regular strength training routine, you are more equipped to handle the everyday stresses of life. You will also notice improvements in your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
One Australian study set out to determine if there was a strong connection between weight training and improving depression.2 A group of clinically depressed individuals aged 65 to 75 were divided into a control group and treatment group to assess improvements.
The treatment group was assigned an intense 45 minute, 3 times per weight training program. The results were that the treatment group had a significant improvement in their mental state than the other groups. So significant that approximately 75 percent of the treatment group didn’t show any signs of depression.
• Improved posture and balance. Not many people realize that by weight training you are improving your posture because the way you stand and sit is influenced by your neck, shoulder, back, hip and abdominal muscles. When you improve your muscle strength, you sit and stand straighter and develop better balance and stability.
• Age more gracefully. If you’re concerned about the declining years, fight them off with regular strength training. Strength training ensures you are strong enough to continue to participate in aerobic activities, sports and outdoor recreation. Strength training makes you more resilient and less susceptible to slips and falls and increases your ability to heal.
• Enhanced body image. In our image conscious society, many people feel they don’t measure up and lack confidence regarding their body. Strength training improves your muscle definition and helps you lose fat, which helps you feel better about your body.
A recent study looked at the impact a 12-week strength-training program had on the body image of 44 sedentary men and women.3 Before the program, they took an initial survey evaluating how they feel when others assessed their bodies and how satisfied they were with their bodies. They were reassessed after 12 weeks of training. All the participants reported a better body image after the strength-training program.
I’m sure after reading about all the wonderful benefits; you’ve identified those that mean the most to you. I highly encourage you to start a regular weight-training program so that you can see the results for yourself.
All the best,
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.