The Benefits of Lifting Weights
If you want to change your body or improve your health, lifting weights, also known as strength training, may be the best thing for you. Lifting weights is designed to work a certain muscle group through free weights, body weight, or machines. Strength training is beneficial for people of all ages and sizes. According to officials, you should be hitting the weights at the very least three days a week to reap the benefits below. So, get a gym membership today. You won’t regret it. Remember that if you are a beginner, don’t start lifting heavy at the start. Start slow with light weights. You can get the same results from lifting small weights with more reps as you would lifting heavy weights with less reps. Form is the most important aspect for gaining muscle. Without form, you will struggle getting the results you desire and you will be prone to injury.
1. You become stronger and fitter
I know this is probably very obviously but I just have to say it. By gaining strength, you can do every day tasks so much easier, like holding 4 grocery bags. Also as you consistently lift, you will begin to notice that you start losing fat and gaining muscle. This happens because your body releases a growth hormone and testosterone, which allows your muscles to get bigger and stronger. You may appear leaner because of losing fat. Muscle is more dense than fat, which means that it will take up less space. You may notice that you lost a couple inches on your waist. Another benefit of gaining muscle is that you can gain a more curvy figure if that is what you are looking for. If you want a bigger butt, lifting weights and doing exercises that target your glutes will give you that.
2. Protects bone health and muscle mass
Even though you may not be trying to look like a bodybuilder, lifting helps to maintain your muscle as you get older. As we hit our 30s, we start to lose about 3-5% of lean muscle mass every 10 years. Since strength training stresses our bones, our body notices what is happening and makes our bones stronger. When we are older, this will reduce fractures, osteoporosis, and falls. Strength training is good to support falls because you are more capable of supporting your body.
3. Begin to burn more calories
Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does. You burn calories because your metabolic rate increases. Just by sitting on the couch, you will be burning a lot of calories. This process is called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” After one workout, you will continue burning additional calories for up to 72 hours.
4. Develop better body mechanics
Struggle with balance, range of motion, coordination, and/or posture? Lifting weights have been proven to improve all of it. There was a study where elderly adults strength trained once a week and had a 58% increase in mobility. The stronger your muscles, the better balance you have.
5. Gives you an energy boost and improves your mood
Strength training is an actual treatment for people with depression or symptoms of depression. Exercise puts you into a good mood because of the increase of endorphins. Endorphins are “feel-good” chemicals that help the nervous system by reducing pain or stress. Now, if you have a tough day, you know to just go to the gym to work off the bad juju. On another note, weight training can help you achieve better sleep. You should work out 1-2 hours before you go to sleep because endorphins will cause you to stay awake. Endorphins are an easy way to get an energy boost.
6. Lose stubborn belly fat
You can’t target fat loss. It is up to your family’s genetics where you lose fat. In order to lose belly fat, you have to lose fat overall. Even though lifting weights has nothing to do with your belly, building muscle will help you boost your metabolism. When you tighten your core through every rep, that even helps to lose fat and strengthen your core.
7. Improves your heart health
If you consistently weight train, you will decrease your blood pressure, improve circulation, and lower your cholesterol. Studies have found that women who do lift weights have about 17% less risk of receiving heart disease than those who do not. Also, people who worked about an hour a week would have a 40 to 70% lower risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
8. Higher self-esteem
Be prepared for a new found love for yourself because lifting weights will do just that. As you work towards goals, you may grasp confidence when you don’t have it at work or other areas of your life. It really helps to make you feel good when you hit certain goals or succeed in certain tasks. Studies show that when teens have worked out, they have a greater view of themselves and higher self-esteem. It is an amazing feeling to see your body start to look the way you want it to.
What your workout schedule should look like every week:
- Monday: Push Day (Chest, Triceps, Shoulders)
- Tuesday: Leg Day (Glutes & Hamstrings)
- Wednesday: Pull Day (Back & Biceps)
- Thursday: Leg Day (Quads)
- Friday: Full Upper Body Day (Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Back, Biceps)
- Saturday: Leg Day (Glutes)
- Sunday: Rest Day
*Incorporate cardio into 3-5 days. Your cardio can be running, walking at an incline, stairmaster, etc. If your plan is to improve upon your endurance, do cardio before you lift. If you want to maintain muscle and lose fat, do cardio after you lift. For running, try sprinting uphill for 30 seconds at a time. For walking at an incline, try doing 12-15%, 3-4 miles per hour, for 20-30 minutes. For the stairmaster, try level 5-9 for 20-30 minutes.