When many of us think of weight training, we envision bodybuilders with bulky muscles and chiseled chests, however science shows resistance/strength training offers incredible benefits for everyday people hoping to better their health.
1. It keeps your bones strong and healthy
Your bones need to stay challenged, just like your brain needs exercise to stay sharp. After the age of 30, each year you start to lose bone density at a small percentage. Keep in mind, women make up 80 per cent of osteoporosis cases as they lose bone mass. Lifting can help!
2. Staves off disease
Research is recognizing that cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and “all the classic chronic diseases” including cancer aren’t as likely with any form of activity, from resistance training to cardio.
3. Boost metabolism and fat loss
Resistance training will help you improve whole-body metabolism. Imagine your body is a house and aerobic exercise cranks the heat for about 30 to 40 minutes while you work out. Resistance training, on the other hand, doesn’t turn the heat up as much however muscle does need more fuel to be sustained. Resistance training may help to increase your metabolism over time as the body requires more fuel.
4. Better Heart Health
Keep your ticker in top form by pumping iron. One study looked at what happens to arteries and blood flow after 45 minutes of moderate-intensity resistance training and found that there was up to a 20 percent decrease in blood pressure -- a benefit equal to or surpassing that of taking anti-hypertensive drugs. The blood flow-improving effects of resistance exercise persisted for about 30 minutes after the end of a training session and continued for as long as 24 hours in people who trained regularly, 30 to 45 minutes a few times a week.
5. Prevents Back Pain
If you work in an office, you know that sitting at your desk all day can wreak havoc on your lower back, leading to stiffness and pain. Resistance training may help strengthen the muscles of your core -- those that support your spine -- to lessen the discomfort and undo some of the damage caused by sitting all day.
6. Improved Balance
Aside from your major muscle groups, like your pecs and hamstrings, your body has various smaller muscles called stabilizer muscles. These muscles do exactly what you would think: They help stabilize you. Each time you work out you're indirectly targeting those little muscles that help keep you upright and take care of everyday tasks such as balancing on one foot to reach a high shelf or stopping yourself from falling on an icy surface.
7. It will make you mentally stronger
When you feel stronger physically, you usually feel stronger mentally. Resistance training teaches you the skill of perseverance, the ability to overcome discomfort and challenge yourself.
Stop fearing the weights -- lifting them is not going to turn you into a muscle-bound HULK. Building huge muscles is intentional and takes a great amount of work. Lifting weights and eating a healthy diet will result in a fit and lean body, not a big and bulky one.