4 Reasons to Add Weight Lifting to Your Exercise Routine
Increasing muscle mass isn’t just about looking better – it’s about living better. Let’s take a look at 4 reasons that you should consider incorporating weight lifting into your weekly exercise routine to improve your overall health.
1. Weight Lifting Increases Muscle Mass
Weight lifting induces hypertrophy, or growth, of the muscle cells. This happens because the act of lifting weights promotes the production of testosterone and growth hormone in the body, which leads to new tissue growth. This makes performing your activities of daily living easier to perform long into old age. Maintaining muscle mass throughout your life is imperative in ensuring that you are able to continue doing the activities that you love.
2. Burn Fat by Weight Lifting
As the amount of lean muscle mass on your body increases, so does your ability to burn fat! This happens because muscle tissue requires more calories to function than fat tissue does, even when you are not exercising. This natural boost to your metabolism means that you will burn more calories throughout the day and it will be easier for you to shed that unwanted excess fat. As body fat percentage decreases, so does your risk for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and many more.
3. Weight Lifting Gives You Stronger Bones and Joints
Lifting weights doesn’t just increase the strength of the muscles, it also has a direct effect on bone density. When bones are put under stress due to a load, such as weights, cells within them called osteoblasts begin to lay down new bone material to adapt. As we age, our bones naturally lose density which can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. This means that regular sessions of weight lifting on a weekly basis is one of the best forms of exercise to promote longevity and strength of the bones, especially in post-menopausal women and the elderly.
The joints are positively affected from strength training as well. As the muscle mass around a joint increases, the ability of that joint to respond and adapt to stressors is vastly improved. Weak muscles surrounding joints means that the joint is left to absorb more force during traumatic events (this could be an impact or a fall, but strenuous athletic activity like running or jumping can be traumatic if the muscles are not adequately trained), which increases likelihood of injury to the joint itself. This leads to the conclusion that proper weight lifting can vastly reduce one’s risk of injury.
4. Weight Lifting Can Improve Your Mood
Weight lifting has been proven to have positive effects on your mental health. Strength training releases endorphins, which are hormones that improve mood. While cardiovascular exercise, such as walking or running, has also been shown to release this feel-good hormone, weight training has been proven to release these endorphins in larger amounts. Who wouldn’t benefit from feeling less stress on a day-to-day basis?
You don’t need to live in your local gym if you want to start seeing these benefits. Just two to three 30 minute weight training sessions a week is all it takes to experience the positive health benefits that come with weight lifting. Regardless of how much experience you have with lifting weights, it is important that it is always done in a safe and controlled manner. If you are new, start off light with weights that you can control, and add weight as your strength and confidence grows. Listen to your body and you will be amazed at the things you can accomplish!