10 Reasons Weight Training Needs To Be A Part Of Your Life
My wife has always been a tough sell on the idea of weight training on a regular basis. She’s much more engaged in cardio based training like running and Peloton classes. I’m a huge advocate for weight training, and always encourage her to do it, but here’s how the conversation typically goes:
Me: “Babe you should really be lifting weights, its so good for you”.
Her: “Eh, I don’t like it, and I don’t really know what to do”
Me: “Too bad you don’t know any trainers that could help you with that” (as I roll my eyes)
Her: “ I just don’t like doing it. I don’t want to get too muscle-y and I don’t really care about being able to increase the amount of weight I can lift. That just doesn’t appeal to me”
What she (and many others) don’t realize are all the health benefits that come along with regular weight training that are far beyond how you look or how much you can deadlift. I believe everyone should be lifting weights. We all have different goals, ability levels and restrictions, but we can all benefit from weight training regularly.
Here are 10 reasons that weight training needs to be part of your fitness program:
1.) It’s the most effective way to reduce body fat.
Many believe that the most effective way to lose weight is doing cardiovascular exercise, like running or interval training. While these are effective and have lots of health benefits, they are far from the best way to lose unwanted body fat. We all have something called a basal metabolic rate, this is the rate at which we burn calories just to maintain our current weight and body composition. When we do cardio and lose weight without adding muscle, our metabolism will actually go down, which is not what we want. Lifting weights regularly adds muscle to our body which will increase our basal metabolic rate and help us burn more calories 24/7 — even when we aren’t exercising. If you want to lose fat, weight training needs to be part of the equation.
2.) It will make your bones stronger and healthier.
Your bones are made of a fine mesh network that gives them strength and rigidity. When we lift weights, we stimulate a growth response in that mesh network and cause it to strengthen and harden, thus making the bones healthier and less likely to be injured. As a matter of fact, one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk and even reverse osteoporosis, is lifting weights. This becomes especially important as we age. The best way to elicit this growth response is with compound lifts like pressing, rowing, squats & deadlifts, and particularly lifts that effectively load the spine.
3.) It will help improve your balance and coordination.
Building your strength is helpful in building better balance and coordination for many things, from athletic competition to everyday life. It’s simple really — the stronger your foundational muscles are, the better your balance and coordination will be. Building strength will help you perform better at your chosen activities and be less likely to take a nasty fall that could result in serious injury. This is also why lifting weights is incredibly important for the senior population.
4.) It can improve your blood pressure over time.
Blood pressure is an important indicator of cardiovascular health, and high blood pressure over long periods of time can lead to lots of problems. When we lift weights, we can see massive spikes in our blood pressure for short periods of time during the activity. This is highly dependent on the individual, intensity and type of lifts being done. However, in the long term we can see decreases in resting blood pressure, which are the numbers you really want to focus on. This is likely due to the fact that exercise will make your heart stronger & more efficient over time. If you suspect you have high blood pressure, or are currently taking medications, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor to establish a plan that is both safe and effective for you.
5.) It will improve your sleep.
The amount of sleep we get on a regular basis has a direct impact on our overall health. When we aren’t sleeping well, it can lead us to unhealthy behaviors and patterns that cause chronic disease. Physical exercise and weight training in particular has been proven to reduce stress, aid in digestion, and improve blood pressure levels — all factors that improve the quality of your sleep. In research studies, adults who regularly got 5 hours or less of sleep per night showed a significant reduction in their metabolic rate, more unhealthy eating patterns, a less healthy body composition, and reduced energy levels as compared to those who slept for more than 5 hours. So if you want your overall health to improve, you need good quality sleep. Lifting weights can help you achieve that.
6.) It can correct and improve postural issues and imbalances.
For a lot of the people who have poor posture, the cause is a lack of muscle strength & tone, or muscular imbalances. Targeted weight training will address muscle groups responsible for those imbalances and bring the body back into proper alignment over time.
7.) It will make you stronger.
Getting strong may not be something you think is important to you, but building more strength is always a good thing. Being strong makes you perform better in athletics, hobbies, and in your activities of daily living. Being strong means you can continue participating in your favorite activities, play with your kids, and not be limited by not having the physical ability to do certain things. Never be afraid of getting stronger.
8.) It can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Time and time again, lifting weights has shown to be an effective way to prevent, reduce, and even reverse chronic diseases. According to various research studies, people who lift on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
9.) It can help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Inflammation is a major risk factor for chronic diseases and harmful medical conditions. Recent studies have shown that weight training just 2 days per week for 20 minutes can reduce the amount of inflammation in our bodies.
10.) It will make you feel more confident in yourself.
Being strong, fit, and healthy brings increased levels of self-confidence. High levels of confidence will help you be better at your job, and improve your relationships. And in case this isn’t clear — that means more money and more sex.
If I’ve convinced you to incorporate weight training into your routine, you may now be asking “ok, so where do I start”? Start with 2 days per week, and add in a third day per week after a month or so. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or a vast array of equipment. A set of adjustable dumbbells and a bench will give you plenty of variety to keep you progressing in the right direction. With the addition of an online trainer or instructional videos, you will be all set!
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