Lifting weights has health benefits that are not limited to bodybuilders. Getty Images/vitapix
Building muscle, burning body fat, strengthening your bones and joints, lowering injury risk, and increasing heart health are all advantages of lifting weights.
Lifting weights safely requires starting slowly, taking rest days, and always using appropriate form.
Joey Thurman, CSCS, CPT, FNS, a Chicago-based fitness specialist and MYX Fitness coach, reviewed this content medically.
Lifting weights provides more than just stronger muscles and a toned physique. Strength training is an excellent approach to improve your entire fitness, from burning fat and strengthening your bones to avoiding injury and keeping your heart healthier.
Here’s all you need to know about the health advantages of weightlifting and how to incorporate it into your workout safely.
Lifting weights is the most effective approach to gain muscle mass.
According to Jonathan Mike, a strength and conditioning coach and professor of exercise science and sports performance at Grand Canyon University in Arizona, weight lifting enhances hypertrophy, or muscle cell growth.
This works because weight lifting increases testosterone and growth hormone production in the body. Lifting weights causes your body to generate these hormones, which promote tissue growth and allow your muscles to grow bigger and stronger.”This muscle mass is critical for performing daily activities and assisting older persons in being functionally independent for extended periods of time, potentially delaying the point when they require more direct care,” Grey explains.
Lifting weights burns body fat efficiently.
Lifting weights strengthens your muscles while simultaneously increasing your body’s fat-burning efficiency. The rationale is straightforward: muscle burns more calories than fat tissue. As you gain lean body mass through weight lifting, you’ll naturally enhance your metabolism in addition to burning more calories while at rest.”Lowering body fat reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity-related health risks, and much more,” Mike explains. “A better ratio of lean body mass to body fat will always lead to more good health changes for the individual.”
Lifting weights makes your bones and joints stronger.
Lifting weights does more than just make your muscles stronger. It also aids in the maintenance of bone and joint health. Fighting the normal weakening of bones that occurs as we age requires strong bones and joints. Osteoporosis develops when bones become excessively weak, a condition in which bones become so fragile that even slight stresses can result in shattered bones or fractures. Strength training focuses on bones in the hips, spine, and wrists, which are the most vulnerable to fracture.
For example, a study published in the journal Obesity in 2017 indicated that combining a low-calorie diet with weight training resulted in higher fat reduction than combining a low-calorie diet with walking. In addition, those who conducted strength training lose fat while maintaining muscle mass.Full-body strength training, for example, was found to be an excellent strategy for premenopausal women to maintain bone mineral density, or bone strength, in a 2013 study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Physical Fitness.
Furthermore, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Endocrinology and Metabolism, resistance workouts, such as weight lifting, “may be the most optimal technique to improve muscle and bone mass in postmenopausal women, middle-aged men, or even the elderly population.”
Lifting weights can help you avoid injuries.
Muscles are the foundation for all of your body’s movement, balance, and coordination. As a result, a body that has been strengthened through weight lifting may be less prone to injury.
“Both injury prevention and rehabilitation benefit from resistance training,” explains Grey. Strengthening muscles around a joint, such as the knee or elbow, can improve its stability and reduce pain, and can even help with chronic conditions like arthritis.Strength training improves the amount and diameter of collagen fibrils in your tendons, according to a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. Tendons are important for injury prevention because they connect muscles to bones and provide support and flexibility.
When lifting weights, though, it’s critical to maintain good form; otherwise, you risk injuring yourself. You may be exerting extra stress on your muscles and joints if your form is wrong, which can result in tears or strains.
Lifting weights can help your heart.
Weight lifting offers considerable cardiovascular benefits that can improve your long-term health, even if you don’t associate it with it.
Women who lift weights, for example, had a 17 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than women who don’t exercise weights, according to a 2017 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
And the findings aren’t only for women. Lifting weights for as little as an hour a week can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 40% to 70%, according to a 2018 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
How to safely lift weights
Lifting weights has numerous advantages that can be realised without spending hours in the gym. Many of the benefits can obtained with just two or three 20 to 30 minute weight lifting workouts each week.
The following are Grey’s recommendations:
- Begin with a light weight that can be readily raised many times without stopping.
- Perform three sets of 12 repetitions at that weight, with at least a 60-second break between sets.
Mike believes that how you choose to include weight lifting into a cardio workout is totally dependent on personal preference. Some folks perform it before cardio, after cardio, or on a different training day. It is entirely dependent on your objectives.
You can also exercise other sorts of weight lifting that target different body areas. You could find it beneficial to workout your upper body one day and your lower body the next.
If you’re new to weight lifting, it’s crucial to stay safe no matter how you do it. Here are some pointers to consider as you get started:
Use the correct technique.
Good form will prevent injury and provide a firm basis for lifting weights.
Start light and gradually increase the weight as you gain strength.
Intersperse your weight-lifting workouts with recuperation days. Allowing your body to rest for a day or two will help it recuperate. You can also alternate upper- and lower-body lifting days to give your muscles more chance to recover.
If you have a chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes, or if you are over 40 and haven’t been active in a long time, consult your doctor before starting a weight-lifting routine.
To become acquainted with the movements and training, you could start with resistance bands or bodyweight exercises.
There are numerous advantages to including weight lifting in your training program, ranging from a more slim appearance to cellular benefits. And if you’re new to lifting, you’ll see results as soon as your first session if you start carefully and listen to your body.
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