Why You Should Be Lifting Weights
Whenever someone says “pumping iron”, people usually imagine buff dudes in tank tops grunting and lifting heavyweights. These people shrug aside lifting weights because they just want to be healthy and aren’t particularly interested in getting swole.
What if we told you that you have been lied to by the broscientists about lifting weights until now? The benefits of lifting weights go far beyond putting on muscle mass. With this article, we’ll be busting some myths about lifting weights and will hopefully convince you to make the barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells a part of your routine.
Cardio vs Weight Lifting
This is the ultimate showdown. While we don’t want to put anyone down for following a particular training style, we want to draw your attention towards the health benefits you’re leaving on the table by keeping resistance training out of your training program.
It might come as a surprise to you but research has found that anaerobic exercise (a.k.a. strength training) and not aerobic training (cardio) may be the secret to longevity. In a study, researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine found a link between strength training and longer life.
Ultimate Weightlifting Kit
To examine the correlation, the researchers looked at data from the National Health Interview Survey collected between 1997 and 2001 and linked it to death certificate data of more than 30,000 people aged 65 or older through 2011.
The not-so-shocking bit? Of all the people, only 9 percent reported strength training at least twice a week. The shocking part? Those lifters had a 46 percent less risk of early death than people who didn’t.
They were also 41 percent less likely to have a cardiac-related death and 19 percent less likely to die from cancer. These results stood their ground even after adjusting for other lifestyle factors like smoking or alcohol use.
Another research conducted at Appalachian State University study found that 45 minutes of moderate-intensity resistance exercise lowered blood pressure by a whopping 20 percent (as good as—if not better than—the benefits associated with most blood pressure pills).
Benefits of Lifting Weights
Pumping iron can add a few years to your life, and it should be an indispensable part of your training. Let’s go over some other benefits (apart from building muscle) that make lifting weights an enticing proposition –
No matter how much cardio you do or how skinny you get, you can’t match the muscle definition and conditioning achieved by lifting weights. This especially rings true for women who want to tone-up their bodies.
For ages, ladies have been fooled into thinking that resistance training can make them look manly. Since women only produce 5 to 10 percent of testosterone as compared to men, it’s very hard (if not impossible) to get as big as the guys.
To challenge the laws of nature and get as huge as men, ladies will pretty much need to live in the weight room. If you’re the adventurous type, you’d also need to get used to the pinching feeling of an injection – if you know what we mean.
Not only does lifting weights help in gaining muscle size, but it also strengthens your bones. For example, when you perform a curl, your muscles tug on your arm’s bones. The cells within the bones react by creating new bone cells.
With time – and reps – your bones become stronger and denser. According to a study, resistance training can also help in building new bone, especially in the high-risk group of post-menopausal women.
Burn More Body Fat
Pumping iron can help increase your lean body mass, which increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day. Along with assisting in putting on muscle mass, lifting weights can help burn extra calories post-workout.
A 2017 study suggests that strength training is better at helping people lose belly fat compared with cardio because while aerobic exercise burns both fat and muscle, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat.
Torch The Belly Fat
Before you roll your eyes, let us be the ones to tell you that spot reduction is not a thing. A study conducted at the University of Alabama found that the women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio.
Lifting weights activates your core and gives you an abs workout without even trying. Not only will resistance training help you in building a chiseled physique, but it also lessens your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers.
Burn More Calories Than Cardio
Sounds fishy, right? Wait until you hear this. A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who lifted burned an average of 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended.
Your muscle mass determines the resting metabolic rate. The resting metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn by just living and breathing. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body expends.
For example, a Hummer burns more gas than a Prius for covering the same distance. A muscular individual will burn more calories doing basic tasks like brushing, walking and even scrolling through this article as compared to a non-lifter.
Forget about the swole guy struggling to touch his toes in the yoga class. Full-range resistance training workouts can help improve flexibility and mobility just like the typical static stretching regimen. If you can’t complete the resistance exercises with a full ROM, you’d be better off using lighter weights.
You should make stretching a part of your training routine as it can help build muscle mass. While stretching before a workout reduces the chances of an injury, it can help with recovery post-workout.
Better Cardio Performance
A stronger core and muscles can help improve performance. Lifting weights makes your limbs stronger which can assist in supporting your body’s weight and maintain ideal form during other exercises – like running.
Since strength training increases the number and size of calorie-torching muscle fibers fueling your performance and spikes your resting metabolism rate, it could help you burn more calories during your cardio workouts.
Many people get a gym membership to overcome some sort of insecurity. The iron has an incredible ability to guide people through self-doubt and inhibitions. The psychological benefits are arguably the most underrated effects of lifting weights.
Lifting heavier weights—and building strength as a result—comes with a big self-esteem boost. Don’t be surprised if you feel like the Incredible Hulk all day, every day. The best part? Your strength will not only show in your lean, toned body but also your attitude.