While just a few years ago lifting weights was seen as something often only body-builders would do in the gym, more and more people are turning to strength training as they become aware of its amazing benefits for the mind and body. Not only does weight lifting have the potential to increase metabolism and help maintain weight loss, but it also helps build bone density, prevent disease and improve your balance, posture, mood and quality of sleep. For those new to strength training just 60 minutes of training a week are enough to help you start to feel healthier and stronger.
Why should you be strength training?
It aids weight loss & maintenance
While many people tend to rely solely on cardio to lose weight and get in shape, this is a mistake. Strength training not only builds muscle which can increase the calories a person burns during exercise and even after exercise (post session calorie burn) for anywhere up to 38 hours, it also has the potential to increase the amount of calories a person burns a day. All these extra calories burn’t due to the increased energy cost of ‘running’ muscle make it super beneficial for successful long term weight loss.
While some people worry that strength training will make them bulky, particularly women, this is generally not the case. Building a large amount of muscle takes a serious amount of work and time in the gym, as well as a very specific protein-loaded diet, and getting there without a conscious, disciplined effort is highly unlikely. This is even harder for women who lack the testosterone necessary to bulk up easily.
It helps to prevent disease & keep you healthy
Studies have shown that lifting weights helps to build stronger bones as the exertion increases bone density. As we start to lose bone density consistently from the age of 30, this is a great way of reducing the risk of fractures and breaks, as well as prevent diseases like osteoporosis.
Strength training has also been proven to improve heart health, lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk of disease like heart attack. Additionally increased muscle from strength training helps with glucose tolerance which can support the management of type 2 diabetes.
It builds strength & improves performance
Lifting weights helps to build muscle and improve your strength. Not only does this benefit you in your day-to-day life, but it will also help you in your athletic performance. Whether you play sport, run, cycle or do anything else physical, strength training will help you to play more powerfully, run faster and longer, and perform without tiring quickly. It will also help to build strong muscles and joints that are more resistant to injury.
It contributes to good mental health
As well as building a strong body, strength training has multiple mental health benefits. Not only has it been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, but it will also help you to sleep more soundly.
It is an effective way of building self-esteem and confidence as you follow your progress, slowly increasing weight and accomplishing things you never thought you could.
With so many incredible benefits, it’s easy to see why you should be incorporating a couple of strength training sessions a week into your routine. While you may feel intimidated about starting to lift weights, the truth is that it is very easy to learn and get into the swing of it once you know what you’re doing.