With so many possibilities of getting fit are out there, you may be wondering if weight training is the right choice for you. You may also be wondering if it’s good for you and if it can help you reach your fitness goals. Some may be wondering exactly what weightlifting is, and if you have to have the goals of a bodybuilder to reap the benefits. So, let’s dig into these questions together and help you understand what weight training is, what the benefits of weight training are, and the impact that strength training can have on weight loss.
What is Weight Training?
If you thought that weigh training was just for men or those seeking a large, muscular physique, think again! So, let’s talk about what weight training is. Weight training, or strength training, is a type of workout that uses resistance to push against muscles through contractions. One can strength train using machines, barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, ropes, suspension training or even body weight. The act of strength training helps to strengthen your muscles, increase muscle mass or tone, decrease fat, and reshape your body.
What are the Benefits of Weight Training?
Strong Bones: Regardless of what your fitness goal is, weight training has many possible benefits. Let’s start with your foundation. One of the best benefits of weight training is its impact on bone density. After about the age of 30, our bone density begins to naturally decrease each year. The less bone density you have the more prone you are to osteoporosis, and the more vulnerable you are to breaks and fractures. Adding weight training to your routine creates force that helps to strengthen the bones, giving your body a stronger foundation and making you less prone to injury.
Faster Metabolism: If you’re turning to weightlifting as a weight loss program, you’ll likely be very happy with the results! Since muscle is active fiber, versus fat, which is not, the more muscle you add to your frame the more calories your body will burn, even without activity. Strength training also benefits weight loss by continuing to burn calories even after you’ve stopped working out. While cardio workouts may burn 400-600 calories in a session, within minutes of completing your workout the calorie burn has stopped. Weight training continues to burn calories hours after your workout to fuel your fat loss and boost your metabolism
Less Abdominal Fat: Another benefit of strength training for weight loss is that it decreases abdominal fat, especially in women. As mentioned above, adding weight training to your routine increases muscle mass, burns calories even after your workout is complete, and raises the metabolism. All three of these benefits align to attack the visceral fat (a.k.a. belly fat), reducing the size of your waist and creating a tighter more toned tummy.
Controlled Blood Sugar Levels: Another reason why weight training is good for you is that it helps to control blood sugar levels. Adding strength training to your weight loss program improves your muscles’ ability to grab onto glucose in the blood stream and decreases sugar levels. Meaning that weight training is a total must for anyone with diabetes or insulin issues.
Slows Down the Aging Process: If you’re like me, you may be doing everything in your power to try to slow down the aging process, and with weight training, you can! Weight training can help increase flexibility, improve movement, increase walking speed, and increase reaction speed. Basically, strength training is the fountain of youth for those wanting to look and feel young for as long as possible.
Helps with Hypertension: If you struggle with high blood pressure, then you definitely want to add strength training to your weight loss program. In fact, adding weight training to your routine just once or twice a week can significantly reduce systolic blood pressure readings and reduced diastolic blood pressure.
Helps with Pain Management: If you suffer from arthritis, low back pain or even fibromyalgia, weight training can help ease your pain and discomfort. Weight training can also improve mobility for those with these conditions better than aerobic exercise, making some routine movements less difficult.
Improves Your Mental Health: Adding resistance training to your routine can not only make you look better; it can make you feel better too. Weight training has been shown to significantly improve cognitive abilities in people of all ages. The body composition changes that result from weight training have also been shown to boost self-esteem in both younger and older adults, and the added strength benefits have been shown to increase positive outlook in those with diseases such as cancer. For those who regularly suffer from depression or anxiety, adding weight training to your routine even twice a week has been proven to have a major impact on one’s overall outlook, as well as a reduction in stress and anxiety.
It’s Fun: If you absolutely dread putting in 45 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical, but want to see results from your fitness routine, then add in some weightlifting! Being able to mix up the movements, the reps, the sets, and the equipment will help keep you from getting bored and losing interest. You can even fold strength training in with your cardio routine and do some circuit training for a full-body, fat-burning effect. I personally love to do this type of training when I am short on time.
So, if you’re still asking yourself if weight training is right for you, regardless of what your goals are, the answer should be yes! Weightlifting not only improves the way you look by reducing body fat and literally reshaping your body, it also makes you feel better and helps keep you young!
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