With all due respect to cardio, if you want to evaporate fat, get in best the shape of your life, and leap over every hurdle life throws at you, then weight training is where it’s at – and scientists agree.
But, what are the real benefits of weight training? And should you give it a shot if you already have a workout routine? Here are 8 benefits that will convince you to pick up those dumbbells.
1. Weight Training Makes Your Bones Stronger and Healthier.
Building stronger and healthier bones is one of the obvious benefits of weight training that shouldn’t be overlooked. That’s because the bones are the frame or foundation of the body. They protect our heart, brain, kidneys, and other vital organs from injury, they store minerals and help us move around.
Having strong and healthy bones means that you can maintain a steady level of physical activity even as old age slowly creeps up on you.
Another powerful benefit of weight training exercise is in correcting your posture. If, like most people, you spend most of your working hours sitting behind a computer, the stabilizer muscles in your torso are going to relax into a weak posture.
Regular weight training exercise helps strengthen and tone the muscles in your torso that are responsible for a confident, dominant posture. This goes a long way in improving your appearance and making you look and feel younger than you actually are.
2. It Helps Prevent and Manage Diseases.
It’s normal to fall sick once in a while. What’s not normal is feeling weak in your bones, like you are a moment away from a fever or illness that will keep you bedridden. One of the health benefits of weight training exercise is that it helps stave off disease.
People who regularly perform some form of physical activity, from weight training to cardio, are less likely than their non-active counterparts to develop cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
I think the reason is that a huge part of our immune response is strongly tied to how we feel. The stronger you are, the more resilient you’ll be against any type of disease and the faster you’ll recover from an illness.
3. Regulates Body Metabolism and Fat Processing.
One important advantage of weight training exercise is that it helps regulate body metabolism – the rate at which your resting body uses calories throughout the day.
People whose metabolism is too low find it difficult to lose weight and those whose metabolism is too high find it difficult to put on some weight no matter what they eat.
With both aerobic activity and weight training exercise, the body continues to burn calories after you’re done working out. However, the metabolic benefit of weight training exercise lasts longer – it increases your metabolic rate for up to 72 hours after exercise, by building lean muscles and at the same time burning fat cells.
What this means is that strength training is better at helping people lose fat in problem areas compared to cardio because while aerobic exercise burns both fat and muscle, weight training exercise burns almost exclusively fat.
Plus, the more you exert yourself during weight training, the more lean muscles you’ll build, which will help you shed unwanted weight or bulk up if you have a slender frame.
4. It Eliminates Inflammation and Controls Insulin Levels.
Weight training has a number of beneficial effects on the body system that are triggered by muscle development. After working out, the body has to heal and strengthen muscles cells that were damaged in the process as well as clear any inflamed region of the body.
This causes positive changes in certain bodily functions, such as blood pressure, glucose and electrolyte levels, and the overall metabolic rate of the body. And since skeletal muscle helps increase insulin sensitivity, building muscles through weight training may lower your risk of developing diabetes and can help those with the condition manage it better.
That’s because muscle cells have a higher metabolic rate, meaning that they demand more glucose than fat cells. As a result, greater muscle mass can help improve blood sugar management.
5. Improves Sleep Pattern and Elevates Mood and Energy Levels.
Adding weight training to your exercise regime can help improve your sleep quality and also alleviate insomnia. This is because deep sleep and muscle growth are interdependent – the body rejuvenates and repairs muscle faster while we’re asleep.
When you regularly get deep, uninterrupted sleep, it becomes easier for your body to regulate your hormones which in turn helps with repair and muscle growth.
Another advantage of weight training exercises is in uplifting the mood and raising our energy level. When we physically strain our muscles during exercise, even if it is a 20 – 30 minute regime, the changes that occur deep within muscle cells stimulate blood flow, oxygen circulation and the production of endorphins. This helps reduce anxiety, elevate mood and improves mental health.
6. Builds Endurance and Improves Overall Strength.
High-quality meals and a good nights sleep will help you get rid of fatigue from the day before. However, weight training is the best way to build your body’s endurance and overall strength so you feel less fatigued by your daily activities.
That’s because the human body is built to adapt to its environment. The more often you strain your muscles with weight training, the easier it becomes to go about your daily activities, such as carrying heavy groceries, running around with your kids, or performing tiring tasks.
With stronger leg muscles, for instance, you can spend more time on a treadmill, go on a longer hike or walking challenge without feeling tired. You can run or walk at the same speed while using little of your leg’s capacity.
7. Improves Your Balance.
One of the long term benefits of weight training is increased stability whenever you’re on your feet. Improving your body balance not only increases your core strength and muscle coordination but also allows you to move freely and steadily without falling – irrespective of your age.
By enhancing your mobility, stability and flexibility, you’ll find it easier to go about your daily routine, walk on uneven terrains and carry yourself around with unshakable confidence.
8. The Self-Confidence Boost You Need.
There’s this unexplainable feeling you get from frequent weight training – as you gradually progress from one weight to something heavier, you cannot help feeling like you can handle whatever life throws at you.
The best part is that this feeling of confidence doesn’t end at the gym or after your workout session ends. It slowly bleeds into other parts of your life and can help you overcome challenges, maintain your drive while chasing a goal, and appreciate your body’s strength.
I think that aside from the aesthetic factors, this might just be the biggest benefit of lifting weights. Your strength shows, not just in your lean, toned body, but also in your attitude and how you carry yourself.
The bottom line.
If you thought weight training was just for the pros or advanced athletes, now you know better.
Weight training provides many health benefits, such as stronger bones, a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, a well-balanced state of mind and healthy self-esteem.
Remember to start slow and give your body time to adjust.
The goal is to build consistency and turn your weight training sessions into a weekly routine that you can keep up with long-term. This is the only way you’ll get the results and health benefits mentioned in this article.