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Health Benefits of Weightlifting
You have seen those men and women pump iron in the gym, day in and day out, sweating it out on those machines and equipment. But what exactly are the benefits of lifting weights and why is it important? Apart from making you look good, is there anything else that makes strength training essential for your health? Besides from weight lifting, some prefer other options such as the recumbent exercise bike since lifting can be a bit intensive for people’s body.
Some are under the assumption that strength training is only for bodybuilders and athletes. The fact is anyone can benefit from quality weight lifting belts and adjustable dumbbells, whether at the gym or by doing workouts at home. The benefits of weight training are even more evident as your muscles get bigger and stronger.
But there is a lot more to this than you might think. The fact is strength training provides several long-term benefits that complement your daily cardio workouts. One of the most common misconceptions with strength training is that it’s not necessary if you exercise daily. That’s not true, as strength training goes hand in hand with your workouts.
Cardio and aerobics workouts help with weight and fat loss, but you need mass to bulk up. By combining the two you’ll get maximum benefits. The effect won’t happen overnight but if you persist and combine your workouts with a healthy diet, you’ll be better off in terms physically.
If you’re new to strength training, the best way to get the benefits of strength training is to just work out. You can do so at home or the gym, it’s your choice. If you find it difficult to weight lift then check out here for more details on the elliptical machine that can save you time and the most productive workout in minutes.
Improves Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
A study conducted by Dr. Ebru Calik-Kutukcu and Hulya Arikan at Hacettepe University revealed that arm strength training improves your ability to perform ADLs. With regular strength training, those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) also benefit.
To determine the benefits of lifting weights, the study focused on 42 patients with COPD. They underwent a 23-session, 8-week program consisting of strength training. The tests include hand grips, lifting, and other workouts.
The end results show that arm workouts lead to greater capacity, reduces fatigue and greater physical strength. However, the benefits extend beyond your arms as it also increases overall stamina.
Among the benefits of weight training is it works out all the major muscle groups, and this leads to greater flexibility and strength. If you do these workouts regularly, you’ll notice the difference in strength and stamina.
Again the difference won’t be apparent right away, but within a few weeks, you’ll feel your body has more energy to do daily routines without tiring as easily. So the difference is not just cosmetic, as your system gets to use more energy to do more work. As your strength and endurance so do your ability to lift even heavier weights.
Weight Lifting Enhances Bone Density
Among the benefits of weight training is it increases bone density. Research done by scientists at Tufts University in Massachusetts reveals that for the past decade, more than two dozen studies have been conducted showing a direct correlation between strength training and increased bone density.
The study also showed that regular strength training provides protection against osteoporosis by boosting bone mineral density. The improvement in bone density varies, but there’s no questioning the fact it helps.
It’s true that proper diet is essential for strong bones: vitamin D, calcium, and other micronutrients help, but weight lifting adds another element. Combined with a healthy diet, expect improvements in connective tissue strength, balance and muscle mass.
The increase in bone density is also accompanied by increased bone strength. This reduces the possibility you’ll break bones, which becomes particularly important as you get older.
Lifting dumbbells and using gym equipment are effective in boosting bone density. But those aren’t the only ways to strengthen your bones. Squats are also effective especially if you hold a dumbbell to your chest. You can also do, step ups, side lunges, reverse lunges and forward lunges to build up bone and muscle strength and reduce injury risk.
Promotes Fat Loss
Conventional wisdom says that cardio and diet are the keys to fat loss. However, you’re going to get better results when they’re coupled with weight training. People who are into cardio do so to lose weight and fat. And it will work if you persist and eat healthily. However, that is all diet and cardio will do, make you lose weight. You don’t just lose fat but muscle mass as well. The end result is you get thin and physically weak.
One of the biggest weight lifting benefits is you’re going to bulk up. With cardio and diet you lose both fat and muscle, but with weightlifting, you burn the fat and gain more muscle. And as your muscles get bigger and harder, the more weights you’ll be able to lift and the more fat you’ll burn.
High-intensity rep weight training leads to high EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). EPOC is used to determine how long your metabolism remains up after each workout.
With a well-rounded strength training program, your EPOC levels remain high for up to 38 hours after doing your last workout. The high metabolism level allows your body to burn calories even when you’re done working out.
Increases Muscle Strength
According to a study conducted at the Southampton Solent University in the UK, strength training leads to an increase in motor performance and makes you less vulnerable to injuries. By performing a variety of workouts, you’ll get the benefits of strength training and give all the major muscle groups a boost. And there’s also no shortage of strength training options available.
Bench press, cable crossovers, and incline dumbbell presses are among the most effective. Other workouts you may include are hyperextensions, seated cable rows, dumbbell rows and lat pulldowns. You can also perform specific strength training workouts on your body. You could, for instance, do leg curls, leg extensions, lunges and machine squats to burn up fats in your thighs.
Even if you want to focus on specific areas, you should not neglect the others as it will affect the benefits of weight lifting. The duration, reps, and sets needed vary, though most start with 8 to 12 reps with a 1-minute break per set.
What’s important is you work out at your own pace. Studies like the ones cited above point out that people advance at varying levels. Don’t worry about not “advancing quickly enough”, as your body will tell you when it’s time.
Enhances Quality of Life
Burning of fat and gaining muscle strength leads to a healthier lifestyle and greater self-confidence. When people think of weight lifting benefits, the first thing that comes to their minds is the physical one, and why not as it is the most obvious.
But there’s also the matter of self-confidence. Lifting weights and building muscles makes you feel better about yourself. Weight training, cardio, and diet also get your body in shape and leads to a healthy lifestyle. The healthier your lifestyle is, the less vulnerable you become to stroke and other diseases.
With regular weight training, your muscles become bigger and harder. You gain strength and won’t tire out as quickly as before. As pointed out earlier, lifting weights no longer just for bodybuilders, but for anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle. An article from the Mayo Clinic website outlines many lifting weights benefits and why it’s something you should be doing.
The benefits don’t end there as strength training also helps you control your weight. Once you’ve lost those unwanted pounds, working out regularly will help you keep those pounds from coming back. Lifting weights also help you deal with chronic ailments, improving your resistance to injuries.
A cursory online search show there is a wide range of strength training programs available, and this only goes to show effective it is. Cardio, stretching and other workouts are important, but they’re not complete. They’re great for losing weight and fat, but for getting in shape and bulking up, working out is essential.
The toughest thing about strength training is getting started. It should be easier if you’re already doing cardio as you’ll just be adding this to your routine. If not, you’re going to have to set aside time for strength training. And it doesn’t take a lot of time either. Usually, you just need 20 to 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week, alternating it with your cardio workouts.
Now that you know the benefits of strength training, there is every reason to go out and do it. And if you feel like it’s too much work, just change things up and keep in mind the many health benefits that you will get. What’s important is you know what you’re getting into and why you’re doing it.
Hopefully, this guide has established the benefits of strength training and why you should include it in your daily routine. However, you must not limit your training options to just weights. for a more thorough workout. You may then use a recumbent bike in lieu of heavy workouts if you’re more focused on flexibility and endurance.