Everyone knows that they should be exercising. Even if you don’t exercise at all, a small part of you would agree that you should be doing some sort of physical activity.
You can tell yourself there isn’t enough time and simply avoid making the effort. Or, you might decide that you can find the time. And when you do make the time to exercise, the most efficient way to use it is by lifting weights. Let’s look at four reasons why it’s beneficial to train with weights.
Burn More Fat
Strength training is beneficial for so many reasons. It allows you to burn more fat and maintain the muscle that you have in addition to building more muscle. Consider the Penn State study referenced in the Women’s Health magazine article, “What’s Best for Weight Loss: Cardio or Strength Training?” In the study, dieters lost 21 pounds whether they did cardio or lifted weights. However, those who did weight training lost almost pure fat while those who did cardio lost six pounds of muscle.
Why did the weight lifters burn more fat? Because lifting weights is the best way to build muscle. With every three pounds of muscle you gain, your body burns an extra 120 calories per day – and that’s whether you’re working out or not! Maintaining and building muscle will help you burn more calories over time than simply burning those calories running on the treadmill. Cardio is still important and necessary, but to lose more fat and get the lean physique you desire, lifting weights is your golden ticket.
After a weight training session, the body needs to repair. This repairing process also requires energy (calories). When your heart rate isn’t skyrocketing, your body will generally burn fat for energy. Over the course of the next couple days, you will have an increased metabolism.
When performing aerobic exercise, on the other hand, the fat burning only occurs during the workout – once you stop, it stops. You can bump up your metabolism and keep your body functioning efficiently by lifting weights and doing bodyweight exercises.
Exercise definitely makes you more productive. Whether you are doing cardio or weight training, staying active helps you to GSD – Get Stuff Done! However, when it comes to weight training, it has been found to boost your brainpower and efficiency. A study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology reported that moderate- to high-intensity weight training provides a significant increase in how quickly you process information. That means your workout can help you stay focused and mentally sharp during the day!
Weight training also helps your body function more efficiently. It is giving you more energy, helping you move more quickly, allowing you to think more clearly and perform better overall. This increase in productivity really allows you to be better in every other area of your life. Whether you need energy for work, school or raising your kids, taking time to stay physically active will help you be more alert and attentive to the other things in your life that matter. There are just too many benefits of regular exercise to even list here, which is why physical activity should be an essential part of your daily routine.
Strengthen Your Bones
Weight training is also beneficial when it comes to strengthening your bones. This is especially important for women as they age, helping to combat osteoporosis and bone loss. There have been many scientific studies that have reported weight training’s ability to increase bone mass, particularly spinal bone mass. One study conducted at Ontario’s McMaster University reported that a one-year weight training program increased the spinal bone mass in postmenopausal women participants by nine percent! By contrast, it was reported that women who do not lift weights experience diminished bone density.
So, what does this mean? Lifting weights is a vital way to combat the aging process that our bodies are all going through. Just as lifting weights breaks down and then strengthens the fibers of our muscles, building them up to withstand increasingly heavy weights, strength training also forces our bones to fight gravity during weight-bearing exercises, increasing their density over time.
Lifting weights not only increases your bone density and improves your muscle strength, it also gives you better balance. These benefits of weight training make any task in your daily life easier to perform, increasing your dexterity and mobility. And lifting weights now will improve your quality of life later on, too. These types of exercises increase your longevity and can help prevent falls or bone breakage that can occur as you age.
Lower Your Stress
Stress is often called the silent killer. If left untreated, it wreaks havoc on your body over time, stealing years and joy from your life. An effective way to manage and fight stress is to lift weights on a regular basis. Having more muscle has also been shown to help you respond better to stressful situations. Studies have shown that fit people exhibit lower levels of stress hormones, helping them to stay cool under pressure. One study reported that during and after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people who have more muscle returned to normal faster than those with less muscle.
The bottom line? Weight lifting gives you a leaner physique, helps you burn more calories, increases your bone density and helps your body fight the effects of stress and aging. When you have time to work out, lifting weights is a really effective use of your time and the benefits will last you a lifetime! If you need help developing an effective weight lifting routine, contact me for a consultation.