You’ve probably heard that lifting weights is good for you. But you might not know just how good it can be. Here are 21 reasons to lift.
For Your Health
1. Stronger bones
Aging leads to loss of bone mass which in turn leads to weakness, postural problems, and increases your risk of suffering a fracture. Resistance training has been show to not only maintain bone mass, but to stimulate osteoblasts (cells that are responsible for bone formation) and to raise blood levels of osteocalcin (a marker of bone growth).
2. Combat muscular atrophy
Aging also leads to muscular atrophy, or loss of muscle. Resistance training can help you maintain your musculature.
3. Improved heart health
Lifting weights can also reduce your risk of heart disease and is recommended by the American Heart Association as a form of exercise for those at risk.
One of the risk factors of heart disease is inflammation, and several studies have found that strength training causes drops in multiple markers of inflammation.
Resistance training has also been show to lower blood pressure which reduces the risk of stroke and the chance of a heart attack.
4. Improved insulin sensitivity
When you eat carbohydrates, your insulin levels rise in order to regulate your blood sugar. Consistently high insulin levels increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Resistance training can improve your insulin sensitivity, which means your body will require a smaller amount of insulin to lower your blood sugar.
Inactivity can also cause your body to become insulin resistant, which means cells don’t respond normally to insulin, so blood sugar levels stay elevated.
Resistance training is one of the most effective ways to combat this, because your muscles rapidly use glucose for energy both during exercise and afterwards.
5. Combat muscle loss and burn more fat
Resistance training workouts burn a greater percentage of calories from fat compared to cardio workouts.
6. Burn more calories
After exercise, your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate than normal. But not all exercise creates the same after-burn. Studies show that weight training burns more calories after a workout than cardio.
7. Increased resting metabolic rate
The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn without any additional activity. This means that you can actually lose weight (or maintain your weight) while consuming more calories.
8. Create shape
Losing weight without resistance training leads to a loss of both fat and muscle. Lifting weights will maintain and create muscular definition.
For women who are looking to “tone,” toning is the result of a loss of fat combined with an increase in muscle, so dieting, cardio, or a combination of the two won’t get you there—resistance training is a necessary part of the equation. Women also don’t have to worry about getting bulky, because they naturally have lower testosterone levels (and building that much muscle takes A LOT of work).
9. Lower levels of stress hormones
Research has shown that those who strength train regularly exhibit lower levels of stress hormones. They manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stress.
10. Release endorphins
Exercise releases endorphins (hormones that make you feel good), and strength training, especially heavy compound movements, produces more endorphins in a faster time period than cardio.
11. Improved mood
Strength training has been linked to reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, researchers found that performing three weight workouts for six months improved scores on measures of tension, anger, and overall mood.
12. Boost self-esteem and confidence
Strength training has also been linked to improved self-esteem. Training can increase your sense of confidence as you make continual improvements. It can lead to a increased sense of self-efficacy and empowerment as you progress to continually heavier weights.
13. Better sleep
Studies show that strength training improves multiple aspects of sleep quality, including falling asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night.
14. Enhanced cognitive function
Researchers found that resistance training enhances cognitive function, resulting in better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span.
15. Better productivity
Once study found that workers were 15 percent more productive on days they exercised compared with days they didn't.
16. Fewer injuries
Resistance training can build stronger connective tissues, ligaments and tendons, in addition to stronger muscles, making you less prone to injuries during daily activities as well as sports.
It can also help prevent injuries by correcting muscle imbalances, and decrease the time it takes to recover if you do suffer an injury.
17. Increased power
Weight training can improve performance in everything from cardiovascular activities like running, swimming, and cycling, to performance in sports.
18. Increased flexibility
Limited range of motion through your joints can increase your chances of injury. Resistance training has been shown to improve flexibility in multiple studies.
19. Improved posture
Proper posture not only makes you look more confident, it’s protective. Resistance training teaches you what good posture feels like, and forces you to practice moving in a safe, efficient way.
20. Better balance
One of the major causes of bone breaks among older people is falling. Resistance training can improve strength and balance, which means fewer falls.
21. Perform daily tasks easier
Because weight training will teach you how to push, pull, squat, and lift objects off the floor safely, you’ll be at a lower risk of injury during your daily activities. Not only that, they’ll seem easy compared to the weights you’ll be using in the gym.
Personally, I lift because I like to look and feel like a badass. But maybe another reason on this list struck a chord with you. Either way, if you're ready for a new strength training routine, or ready to get started with your first one, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your goals are.