If you’ve ever been to a gym, you know the guy I’m about to talk about. The guy that wears that weird tank top. He screams every time he lifts a weight, and you’re sure that vein in his head is eventually going to pop. Between sets, he spends an uncomfortable amount of time looking at himself in the mirror, posing and flexing for the world to see. Yeah, you know at least one guy like that.
Even though he might be a little obnoxious, he’s using weight lifting to enhance his health and fitness. For that guy, though, he might be lifting weights strictly for the aesthetics. That doesn’t change the result, however. He’s still healthier because of his weight lifting routine.
Now, you’re probably thinking that you don’t want to be as big and bulky as that guy. Don't worry; you won't. That guy lives in the gym, and you don’t need to adopt his routine or his caloric intake.
All you need to do is adopt a simple weight training routine, and your body will thank you. In this article, we will explore the many reasons why you should lift weights and the benefits that come along with it.
Weight Training Is For More Than Muscles
Everyone knows that weight training builds muscles. But did you also know it can strengthen your bones and even help rebuild bones? This is especially helpful for people older in age with the risk of developing osteoporosis, and bones that are more brittle to begin with.
After age 40, a combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and inadequate nutrition causes us to lose 1% of our bone mass every year. Weight training can help counteract that.
Studies have shown that lifting weights plays a role in slowing bone loss, and even building bone. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge your bone-forming cells into action. The stress from weight lifting comes from the pushing and tugging on your bones during training. That results in stronger, denser bones.
The Benefits No One Tells You About
Along with helping your body regrow bone, there are several more benefits of weight lifting that no one talks about.
We all know lifting weights will give you big arms and a toned chest, but what are the benefits we don’t know about?
- Lower Abdominal Fat. Іn а 2014 studу Наrvаrd rеsеаrсhеrs fоllоwеd 10,500 mеn оvеr thе соursе оf 12 уеаrs аnd fоund thаt strеngth trаіnіng іs mоrе еffесtіvе аt рrеvеntіng іnсrеаsеs іn аbdоmіnаl fаt thаn саrdіоvаsсulаr ехеrсіsе.
- Веttеr Cаrdіоvаsсulаr Hеаlth. Vіsсеrаl fаt sіts іn аnd аrоund thе vіtаl оrgаns, іnсludіng thе hеаrt. Lifting weights reduces your amount of visceral fat, іmрrоving hеаrt hеаlth.
- Соntrоllеd Blооd Sugаr. A 2013 rеvіеw рublіshеd іn thе јоurnаl ВіоМеd Rеsеаrсh Іntеrnаtіоnаl shоws thаt strеngth trаіnіng аlsо іmрrоvеs thе musсlе’s аbіlіtу tо tаkе іn аnd usе gluсоsе, оr blооd sugаr.
- Rеduсеd Risk Of Cancer. Vіsсеrаl fаt nоt оnlу іnсrеаsеs thе rіsk оf hеаrt dіsеаsе аnd dіаbеtеs, but іt саn аlsо рrоmоtе саnсеr dеvеlорmеnt — another reason to lift weights to remove your visceral fat.
- Injury Prevention. Наvіng а gооd musсlе bаsе іs іmроrtаnt fоr аll mоvеmеnt, bаlаnсе, сооrdіnаtіоn аnd іnјurу рrеvеntіоn Іf your musсlеs are wеаk, іt рuts mоrе strеss оn іts соnnесtіng tеndоn аnd саn rеsult іn injury.
- Improved Mental Health. Similar to “runners high” strength training also improves symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. Along with еndоrрhіns, strеngth trаіnіng рrоvіdеs аn орроrtunіtу tо оvеrсоmе оbstасlеs and increase your mental resiliency.
- Іmрrоvеd Flехіbіlіtу And Mоbіlіtу. When people think of flexibility, they think of yoga. Іt’s tіmе tо rеthіnk уоur strеtсhіng rоutіnе. However, strеngth trаіnіng has been proven to іmрrоvе flехіbіlіtу іn bоth mеn аnd wоmеn. Eссеntrіс strеngth ехеrсіsеs that emphasize muscle lengthening mау рrоvіdе thе bіggеst bеnеfіt, іmрrоvіng hаmstrіng flехіbіlіtу twісе аs wеll аs stаtіс strеtсhіng.
- Positive Body Image. Cоnsіstеnt strеngth trаіnіng іmрrоvеs bоdу іmаgе аnd реrсеіvеd рhуsісаl арреаrаnсе – nо mаttеr thе асtuаl аеsthеtіс rеsults. Іmрrоvеmеnts іn mеntаl hеаlth аnd еnеrgу lеvеls, аs wеll аs fееlіngs оf ассоmрlіshmеnt, аrе thе lіkеlу causes of іmрrоvеd bоdу іmаgе.
- Better Brain Health. Ѕtrеngth trаіnіng саn іmрrоvе brаіn роwеr асrоss а lіfеtіmе, with thе еffесts strоngеst іn оldеr аdults suffеrіng frоm соgnіtіvе dесlіnе.
The Reduced Risk Of Heart Attack And Stroke
If you still need a little more motivation to start lifting weights, this should do it. One of the most significant benefits of weight lifting is the effect it has on your overall health. Lifting weights makes you a healthier person overall. Recently, however, strength training has been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
The study was undertaken at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. More than 12,500 patient records were anonymized for men and women, most of them middle-aged, who had visited the clinic at least twice between 1987 and 2006. The subjects were categorized according to their reported resistance exercise routines, ranging from those who never lifted to those who completed one, two, three or more weekly sessions.
Another category was aerobic exercise and whether subjects met the standard recommendation of 150 minutes per week of brisk workouts. This exercise data was then cross-checked against heart attacks, strokes and deaths during the 11 years or so after each participant’s last clinic visit.
What they found was pretty dramatic. The risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke was about 50% lower for people who occasionally lifted weights compared to those who never lifted. The people who lifted twice a week for nearly an hour total had the most significant declines in risk.
This is great news for weight lifters because it finally proves that there are heart benefits even with a very small amount of resistance exercises.
Weight Lifting For Beginners
If you’ve never done any type of weight lifting before, it can be pretty intimidating to get started. Just mustering up enough courage to walk into the gym is a huge accomplishment for many people. Hiring a personal trainer is always an option. They can teach you the ins and outs of everything, and help you design a workout that’s suited to your needs.
If you don’t want to hire a personal trainer, here are some rules of etiquette and common mistakes you should avoid when you're first starting out.
Always bring a towel so you can wipe off the machines, benches, and equipment you use.
Rerack all the weight and replace all the dumbbells or barbells that are used.
Don't rest on machines, especially one that someone is waiting for. Most people are more than willing to share machines when asked nicely.
- Leave your cell phone in your locker or car. Nothing is more distracting than listening to another person's conversation when you’re trying to work out.
Mistakes To Avoid:
When first starting out, always start with weights lower than your expected ability and work your way up that first workout. If your form suffers, you may be using too much weight. Greater momentum increases the potential for injury and reduces effectiveness.
You could also not use enough weight. You want always to play it safe, but if you can perform 30 reps with a certain weight, it's likely time to increase it a bit. A good rule of thumb is to increase the weight by 5% at a time.
Don’t move through repetitions too quickly or move too fast. Some of the perks of lifting weight in a slow and controlled manner include total muscle tension, more muscle-fiber activation, and less tissue trauma.
- Not enough, or too much, rest. Either one can be a workout killer. The recommended rest period is between 30-90 seconds for overall fitness.
It’s As Simple As Up And Down
Did you ever imagine that picking something up and then putting it down could be so beneficial to your health? That’s what weight lifting is, and it can work wonders for your mind and your body.
There are no magic pills, no complicated moves, and no expensive superfood shakes involved. All you have to do is lift weights, even just a little bit, and you will be better off because of it. You will look better, feel better, and you will likely live longer because of your weight training.
You don’t have to be “that guy” in the gym. No one expects you to squat 500lbs or do pull-ups for 30 minutes straight. Even the most straightforward routine will pack fantastic health benefits.
Don’t want to buy a gym membership? No problem. Amazon.com is your best friend because you can buy a weight bench, dumbbells, resistance bands, or anything else you need so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home but still get in a great workout.
So, what are you waiting for? Go grab a set of weights and start lifting.