Most of us know that strength is important, but that doesn't make it any easier to do it. It may help to know why strength training is so important and all the ways it can help you look better and feel better. Check out my favorite reasons to lift weights and get motivated to start strength training today.
1) Reduces your risk of injury: This type of training strengthens everything. Lifting weights also strengthens connective tissue—the ligaments and tendons that keep your body moving well on a regular basis. Strengthening your connective tissue will help you continue to operate in peak condition and protect your body from injuries. Weight training increases bone density as well; helping to also create a strong and healthy spine. This reduces the risk of fractures and other pesky things like broken bones. Bad posture? Well lifting weights can help build that strong back and core which will assist in slowing that lower back pain down.
2) Increases balance, stability, and flexibility: When we don't preserve muscle mass with strength training, what happens when we grow older? We lose muscle mass and that's often what leads to weight gain and loss of balance and flexibility. Lifting weights can help you work your joints through a full range of motion, keeping them strong and flexible and keeping you steady on your feet.
3) Helps you reduce fat: When you lift weights, you build lean muscle tissue which is more metabolically active than fat. When you increase your muscle, you also increase metabolism which means you're burning more calories throughout the day. Regular strength training is just as important as cardio exercise for losing fat and getting fit.
4) Makes you stronger: It may seem obvious that lifting weights can make you stronger...but what some people forget is that it doesn't just make you strong for your workouts, it makes you stronger in other areas of your life as well.
When you lift weights on a regular basis, everything else becomes a little easier too - carrying groceries, housework, gardening, carrying the kids, etc. and who doesn't want regular life chores to be a little easier on us?!
5) Can increase bone density: this in turn strengthens your bones. Recent studies have shown that arthritis sufferers who lifted weights actually reduced their joint pain. By strengthening the muscles, they were able to cushion and protect the joints during impact activities like walking.
6) Help reduce belly fat: Ready to get rid of the muffin top? Resistance training becomes increasingly important as we age, for many reasons, including reducing the accumulation of belly fat. A study showed that high-intensity resistance training induces faster belly fat loss than cardio activity alone. ( International Journal of Cardiology )
7) Boost of confidence: Enhance your mood and reduce stress. Exercise releases endorphins which improve your mood, prevent pain, and fight depression. Let's all get a boost in confidence and lift together!
8) Reducing health risk: Reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Weight training can help to improve cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol, and in turn this will help to lower blood pressure.
Using weight training as part of your routine will also improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Lifting weights even aids in fighting off inflammation, a marker tied to many diseases. Studies have suggested that regular resistance training sessions, about twice a week, resulted in drops in inflammation in overweight women.
9) Can improve your sleep: According to a recent study in Preventive Medicine Reports, strength training can help improve your quality of sleep. This is because strength training creates a molecule called adenosine, which tends to cause drowsiness. Researchers found that lifting weights in the morning helped subjects fall asleep about 45 minutes faster. Lifting weights in the evening improved the actual quality of sleep. This may be because resistance training warms the body internally, sort of like a pre-bed bath. Strength training: surprisingly soothing.
10) Overall better life: Strength training can improve brain power across a lifetime, but the effects are perhaps the strongest in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. In one study when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed twice-weekly weight training for six months, they significantly improved their scores on cognitive tests ( Journal of American Geriatrics ). The key might be getting the blood flowing. The youth and older generation also take notice in their everyday activities such as bending to take care of your garden, taking your bagged groceries to the car, twisting to grab your water bottle from the backseat, all of which are performed with more ease after weight training a few times a week.
The benefits of lifting weights include building muscle, burning body fat, strengthening your bones and joints, reducing injury risk, lowering inflammation and staving off chronic disease, and improving heart health. To lift weights safely, it's important to start slow, take rest days, and always use proper form.
In closing, the first step is to slowly get into weight lifting. How do you know if you have the right amount of weight when you start? If the last few reps are difficult - you hit gold! You don't want it easy but you also don't want it so difficult that your form begins to decrease which could lead to injury. So think of it like the three bears - you want it just right