Maybe you’ve already considered lifting weights. Maybe you’ve even done some dumbbell curls or picked up a barbell and attempted a squat. However, every time you hit the iron you feel a little unsure, insecure, or even a bit fearful so it didn’t last.
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the myths: lifting heavy weights makes women bulky, it’s dangerous, it’s bad for your joints, and once you have muscle, you can’t stop lifting or it will all turn to fat. Well we’re pleased to say that those horror stories couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s time to put that fear and uncertainty aside. The fact is lifting weights does none of those awful things. What it does is help you to live in a healthier, stronger body.
When you sit down to list your fitness objectives, you may be surprised to learn that that strength training will not only help you reach them, but may reach them faster than performing cardio exercise alone. Yoga and the treadmill can, and always will have their place, but they’re not enough. Here are eight real reasons why you should prioritise strength training in to your fitness regimen!
1) MORE EFFECTIVE FAT LOSS
Although many people consider weightlifting only a means to add size, when contrasted head-to-head against cardiovascular exercise, resistance training comes out on top in the battle to burn calories. The huge advantage to weight training is your body’s ability to burn fat during and after exercise. After a heavy bought of strength training, you continue to consume additional oxygen in the hours and even days that follow. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. When your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure and an increased metabolic rate.
2) MORE MUSCLE, MORE CALORIE EXPENDITURE
As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently. Daily muscle contractions from a simple blink to a heavy squat contribute to how many calories you burn in a given day. Sitting burns fewer calories than standing; standing burns fewer than walking, and walking burns fewer than strength training. The more muscle contractions you experience during a day, the more calories you’ll burn. If you have more lean muscle mass, you’ll have more muscle contractions and thus burn more calories.
As you build muscle, your body begins to take a nice hourglass shape. Though endurance exercise can help you to lose weight, that weight will come off in the form of both fat and muscle tissue. If you’re losing both fat and muscle, you can lose those lovely curves as well and remain unhappy with your happy. Strength training will help you maintain the muscle that you do have, so when you do lose that fat you will be left with a more toned and shaped physique.
4) QUALITY SLEEP
Strength training greatly improves sleep quality, aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night. A study published in the International SportMed Journal suggests that morning resistance training or high intensity training greatly affects the quality of sleep and lengthens the time of sleep the night after training.
5) INCREASED ENERGY
As noted above, resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train. A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that the chronic increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal resistance training session, may favourably effect energy balance and subsequent fat oxidation. Rather than reaching for that early afternoon cup of coffee, grab a barbell.
6) HEART HEALTH
It has actually been proven that pumping iron can reduce your risk of heart disease. A study found that those who lift weights are less likely have heart disease risk factors such as a large waist circumference, high triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and elevated glucose levels.
7) BONE HEALTH
As you age, you are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Postmenopausal women are at an even greater risk for osteoporosis because the body no longer secretes estrogen. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis. The earlier you begin lifting weight, the greater chance you have to maintain bone health later in life.
8) STRESS RELIEF
Exercise in general is a great way to manage stress. Researchers have consistently found that those who regularly strength rain tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not exercise. In addition, resistance-training studies on older adults show that moderate intensity weightlifting improves memory and cognitive function so next time you need to blow off some steam, hit the weights.
All of us want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do: from fitting into jeans, to moving heavy furniture, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful career. Resistance training can benefit in all aspects of your life. Put it in your fitness plan and feel stronger, healthier, and more confident!
Read the article and been convinced to give lifting weights a chance, but don’t know where to start? Get it touch today at Henley@TheFitnessSpace.com or 01491 571396 to discuss how our expert Coaches can implement resistance training in to your routine!