Do you lift to build muscle strength?
Are you including resistance training (aka using weights) in your workouts?
If not, why not?
Running, cycling, swimming etc are the best fat-burner workouts!
Resistance training; aka lifting weights, body weight work, strength work, pumping iron etc is the key to a strong, supple body which will burn bonus calories with the muscles you develop (without looking like Arnie – it’s just not possible for us ladies).
Other benefits include:
- Increased bone density (result: less chance of breakages as you age)
- better muscle tone (hands up who wants less jiggle, more power)
- increased metabolism (result: think slimmer, weight control)
- fantastic posture (walk taller leading to reduced back pain)
- better sleep
- reduced stress
- summer arms!
So, if you want to fit into your skinny jeans in winter and be ready to hit summer with a bang, start lifting!
OK, let’s take a closer look at the benefits:
It keeps your bones strong and healthy
The action of muscles / ligaments pulling on your bones as you lift weights, challenges the bones and helps build and maintain bone density.
“So what?” You may think.
Consider the fact that we start losing a small percent of bone density from the age of 30…that’s about 50 years, give or take, of weakening bones.
Weaker bones can result in an increased risk of osteoporosis and breakages which limits mobility.
As a society we are living longer, but are we living and aging well?
If you want to give yourself the best chance at healthy, strong aging, it is recommended to incorporate at least 2 resistance training sessions per week to your program.
It helps fight off disease
The research community is recognising that heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and “all the classic chronic diseases” including cancer are less likely with any form of activity, from strength training to cardio.
We all know that running is good for your heart, your brain, your waistline and your mental health. Well, so is weight training.
The stronger you are, the more resilient you are against disease.
Kick starts your metabolism and fat loss
Muscles burn calories.
Therefore: Increase your muscle mass = boost your calorific burn
Think of your body as a heating system:
Aerobic exercise (running, cycling etc) will crank up the heat while you work out. Strength training, on the other hand, doesn’t turn the heat up as much as creating a long term burn.
Weight training, on a whole, can help maintain a regular weight while changing your body’s composition.
We all know the saying “Muscle weighs more than fat.”
Think of it this way:
1kg of feathers is the same as a 1 kg of bricks, but one is less dense, taking up less room. Think about building a brick foundation of muscle.
Diabetes Type II buster (insulin regulation) and lowers inflammation
Strength training burns glucose, which is great news for those battling Type 2 diabetes who consistently need to manage blood sugar levels.
Lifting weights even aids in fighting off inflammation, which is 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.
It improves posture, sleep, mood and energy levels
A balanced weights program that works on the whole body will help improve posture – think stronger muscles to support the skeleton and help it stay upright.
Increased strength = stronger, happier mind. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t love the positive changes in their shape, health and well being.
It’s empowering to feel strong.
It improves strength and endurance
Increased strength impacts other activities.
Stronger legs help you walk or run further and faster.
A well rounded running program should always include strength work along with the road time and stretching.
It improves balance and reduces the risk of falls
The function of our muscles is to work as a well oiled machine to move our skeleton. Bones without muscles are useless.
You’ve probably heard the phrase: “Use it or lose it”
Well, if you don’t use your muscles, they waste away making it harder to move efficiently.
A major reason the elderly become house bound is fear of falling.
Fifty per cent of seniors who get a hip fracture from a fall don’t live past two years following the incident. With improved balance and muscle strength falls can be avoided.
Exercisers who lift weights have stronger legs, arms and core, are more able to carry groceries up stairs and maintain balance.
It boosts confidence
The sense of achievement gained from increasing strength and being able to lift heavier weights boosts self esteem and confidence.
Having the power to use your body as it was designed, transform your shape and maintain a healthy weight are powerful reasons to lift and shift.