For most people lifting weights is all about getting in shape and looking good. For others it is to put on muscle. Both groups are hitting the gym for aesthetic reasons, but did you know that there are a bunch of other benefits of strength training?
Lifting weights not only improves the reflection in the mirror, but it also has several other incredibly important functions that can be easy to gloss over when we fuss over how tight are shirt is fitting. For example, strength training improves bone density, limits the number of injuries we face, helps to burn and keep off fat, and prevents a myriad of other diseases and conditions.
Strength Training Makes Yo’ Bones Stronger
Strength training and weight lifting can dramatically improve your odds of not getting osteoporosis by increasing your bone density. These effects are not limited by age either – the effects of weight lifting can be just as effective for seniors.
As weight lifting is an anabolic activity, it promotes the building of healthy muscle tissue that surrounds your bones. Additionally, this build up of muscle tissue can also help ward off fractures and bone stresses.
Reduces the Likelihood of Incurring Owies
Getting injured is something that happens to all of us, regardless of how careful we are. After all, they are called “accidents” for a reason, right? Weight lifting strengthens the ligaments and tendons that connect your muscles and bones.
A majority of injuries are a result of a tendon or ligament not being strong enough. As an added benefit, weight lifting improves muscle strength (obviously) and also improves your balance.
Lifting Weights Burns Fat, Too
Routine weight lifting also has the capacity to increase your metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns fat. Which means that you have to eat more food to maintain your current weight, making weight loss relatively easy (if that is your goal).
This being said, the common myth that doing lots of repetitions will burn more fat is false. Doing fewer sets but at higher intensity release more of those muscle building and fat torching hormones. Aim to use heavier weight at a moderate number of repetitions (8-12 reps).
Muscle is active tissue that consumes calories while stored fat consumes barely energy. A single pound of lean muscle burns between 30-100 calories per day on average.
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Reduces the Severity and Onset of Several Major Diseases
Strength training can assist in reducing the likelihood as well as the symptoms of various diseases and chronic conditions. We already talked about how increased bone density could help ward off osteoporosis, but did you know that strength training can also help sufferrers of:
- Back pain.
- And even depression.
Of the above, diabetes type 2 is certainly worth talking about. More than 15 million people in the US now suffer from this chronic disease that causes blindness and heightened risk of heart and renal disease. Weight lifting can help those already suffering from type II diabetes by helping manage glucose levels.
Strength training also helps strengthen heart tissue. Heart disease is currently the number killer of adults in North America. Weight lifting helps build aerobic capacity, leans the body so that it is easier for the heart to function, and dramatically reduces the risk of major heart diseases.
So there you have it. Several powerful reasons to get your butt back in the gym and lift those weights. So now not only will you look good when it comes to beach-time, but you will also live a longer, healthier life with a decreased likelihood of suffering from major, chronic diseases.
See ya at the gym–