• 3 Great Benefits of Lifting Weights That You May Not Have Considered
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about weightlifting? Is it oily bodybuilders with bulked-up muscles that can rip a shirt to shreds with just one movement?
If yes, you’re not the only one to think so. In fact, many women avoid lifting weights that are heavier than 2 pounds because they fear they’ll bulk up and lose their feminine body aspect. On the other side, many men go straight for the heaviest weights they can find, in the hope that they’ll grow muscles overnight.
Well, science shows both these groups are wrong. According to various studies, weight training is a beneficial form of physical activity (when performed correctly) and has a wide range of benefits for the body and the brain. Moreover, weight training alone won’t make you look like a bodybuilder, regardless of how much you lift. In fact, if you aim for the heaviest weights without a proper warmup, you risk injuring yourself, which defeats the purpose of working out in the first place.
Therefore, whether you’re a man or a woman, you can lift weights that fit your current fitness condition without worrying about huge muscles sprouting overnight. And, to prove the wide range of benefits that comes with weightlifting, here are the top 3 benefits that most people who don’t practice this sport ignore:
#1: Lifting Weights Burns Fat
In a weights versus cardio comparison, the results show a similar number of burnt calories for both activities (performed separately). However, when weightlifting and cardio are combined, the fat simply melts away and the body gets more defined and toned.
Therefore, weightlifting can be used as a method to boost your fat-burning routine and get a jump-start on that beach body you’ve been dreaming of the whole winter. This happens because muscle tissue burns fat even when you’re idle (provided you maintain a consistent weight training routine that fits your frame and fitness abilities).
#2: Stronger & Healthier Bones
We start losing bone density after we turn 35. Of course, this is a gradual loss, which is why most people only notice it when they reach 50 or 60, but by then, it’s too late to do anything about it.
The loss of bone density is called osteoporosis and it’s more common in women than men because of hormonal changes (mostly because of menopause). But, regardless of your gender and hormonal makeup, you can help your bones maintain some density and get healthier by including weight training in your workout routine. Additionally, this type of exercise also strengthens your joints and skeletal muscles, which will come in handy when older.
#3: It Reduces Injury Risk
Muscles are the ones that drive our every movement, so by strengthening them and developing new fibers, we also make our body stronger and better adapted to unpredictable situations. Some scientific papers also state that weight training helps strengthen the tendons (the tissue that connects muscles to the bones), which is another hidden benefit for flexibility and strength.
Additionally, muscle strengthening can help with recovery as you can work on developing the muscles around a joint for increased stability and better support. This type of training also helps reduce pain and it may also have an effect on chronic conditions (like arthritis).
Overall, weightlifting has lots of benefits, as long as it is performed correctly. If you don’t maintain proper form and don’t respect your current body limitations, you risk straining a muscle or damaging your back or joints.
Lastly, weightlifting should be practiced in combination with another sport (like running or cycling) in order to reap all the benefits of an active life.