Everyone can benefit from lifting weights, men and women, young and old.
The weights room can seem like an intimidating place if you’re new to it but in my experience, the biggest, strongest guys tend to be the most helpful and I’m going to give you 5 reasons lifting weights is too important to pass up.
Lifting weights (with good form) is good for you. It will make you stronger, helping with everyday tasks like walking up the stairs, balance and playing with your children.
Your muscles are the pulley system that hold your bones together and by training them you’ll be improving your posture by training otherwise under-used muscles and creating bodily-awareness of how to properly use these muscles. As a result of this, you will realise you have less aches and pains, apart from DOMS of course.
Lifting weights stretches your muscles so you can expect flexibility to improve as well.
Another benefit is an increase in bone density meaning a stronger skeleton. This also gives a reduced chance of developing bone related illnesses such as osteoporosis.
On a deeper level, your internal organs will also thank you; you will strengthen your heart and improve your insulin sensitivity, decreasing your chances of developing diabetes. Your cholesterol levels can also benefit, increasing HDL and reducing LDL.
Most people have heard about exercise releasing endorphins, the bodies’ feel-good hormone but did you know it can also help fight against depression?
Speaking from my own experience, if I’ve had a bad day, I may not feel like lifting weights but when I do I find it is an escape from all of life’s troubles. When you are really applying 100% effort into something, you don’t have room in your brain for all of the negative stuff getting you down. All you have is the weight in front of you – 100kg is always 100kg.
Did you know that lifting weights will improve your circulation therefore increasing your core temperature, even when resting.
I have known people taking medication to improve their circulation to be able to come off it altogether and experience better results through regular weight training. This particular persons’ hands looked like they belonged to a ghost at times. Now they are warmer than mine most of the time!
WOMEN – Lifting weights won’t make you bulky! If this was a genuine risk then why doesn’t every bloke in the gym lifting weights look like Arnold Schwarzenegger?
I cover this in more detail in ‘Train For Your Goal’.
Everyone has muscles whether you can see them or not and you use them ALL THE TIME.
When you stand up from a being sat in a chair? – You just did a squat
Picking up an object from the floor – Deadlift
Taking a sip of a drink – You mean a bicep curl?
These muscles are here for a purpose, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea to look at but I would put money on a lot of people’s physique goals being achievable only by lifting weights – of course this would be combined with certain cardiovascular exercise and a suitable diet.
You get to eat more food
Last but not least, my personal favourite reason for lifting weights.
Lifting weights builds muscle; muscle is calorically expensive, meaning it requires calories to be maintained at rest. Meaning the more muscle mass you have, the higher your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) will be.
This is good news for those with an appetite and it means you can be less restrictive if you want to lose or maintain weight.
The main benefit of this is that you get to take in, through nutrition, all of the vitamins and minerals you need to stay in good health and to build more muscle through protein synthesis, which is how all cells are reproduced. Taking in all of these vitamins and minerals through a healthy, varied diet will improve your skin complexion, hair, nails and lots more that we can’t see and take for granted everyday like your liver, kidneys and hormones.
It’s nice to see more women venture into the weights room and enjoy the benefits of picking up heavy things and putting them down but there still seems to be a stigma attached to lifting weights that it just can’t shake.
Give it a go and try for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.