Whenever I advise my players to include weight lifting in their workout regimes, their reactions range from, “It’s too complicated or difficult for me,” to “No! I don’t want to bulk up”. These are the misconceptions engraved in our minds from the glossy images of sculpted and chiseled bodies of men and women appearing in fitness websites and magazines!
Apart from the fact that many of these photographs are Photoshopped or Edited, they unanimously promote the sole purpose of weight lifting as ‘body building’, which defers many people who want to actually stay fit and active, from it. Weight lifting, in essence, is not just about getting toned and sculpted! The benefits of weight lifting are numerous, ranging from improving your body composition, burning fat, strengthening your bones and joints and increasing your happiness quotient as well!
Health Benefits of Weight Lifting
- Get Stronger and More Active: Weight lifting stimulates the growth and development of the slow twitching muscle fibers (type2 muscle fibers) which improves agility, endurance, and builds up your stamina and strength, thus, boosting your performance in doing activities of daily livings (ADLs).
- Boosts Resting Metabolism: When the muscles are stimulated after strength training, they need to work harder to rebuild. Hence, they utilize more calories for redevelopment and growth! Muscles are metabolically active tissues which keep burning calories even during the resting phase known as the Afterburn Effect!
- Strengthens Your Bones and Joints: Weight training not only strengthens your muscles and ligaments but also improves bone density. The way muscles start developing under stress, the bones also adapt by increasing deposition after consistent weight lifting. This becomes more important as one reaches the age of early 40s when we are prone to natural decline. Also, stronger ligaments and bones prevent the occurrence of injuries while performing cardio and other activities!
- Lower Risk of Diabetes & Blood Sugar Levels: A study funded by the National Institute of Health has found that men who added weight lifting to their cardiovascular exercise routine had a 34% lower risk of diabetes. It’s advisable for individuals with type 2 diabetes to include weight training in their workout regime as toned muscles improve insulin sensitivity and better utilization of glucose!
- Improves Heart Health: As weight lifting improves the lean muscle mass in the body, it improves blood flow to different body areas which put less pressure on arteries, thus improving cardiac muscles pumping capacity!
- Improves Posture & Balance: Weight lifting strengthens your core, tones up your muscles and improves your posture. It reduces undue stress on different bones and joints, especially the shoulders, spine and hips which are more prone to injuries because of bad posture! Weight training also promotes the development of smaller muscle sets known as stabilizers. These take care of keeping you upright and helping you balance on a slippery surface or on one foot when you are reaching out to a higher shelf!
- Makes You Happier: Weight training stimulates the release of endorphins in the body which are also known as the ‘feel good hormones’. They trigger the happy centers in the brain. A well-toned, lean and fit body elevates your mood and self-esteem. Weight training brings you out of your comfort zone. High intensity weight training proves the worth in persisting through uncomfortable situations – a lesson which can be applied to be successful in other aspects of life too.
How to Start Your Weight Training Journey?
The simple mantra is just ‘go ahead’. Simply enter a gym or put on a video to see how you can take your journey forward. Start with minimum weights and gradually increase. Make sure to start under the guidance of an expert to avoid injuries or wrong postures or techniques. Keep setting challenges and targets which will keep you motivated to push harder.
You can even subscribe to GOQii’s Personalized Health Coaching to seek guidance from your GOQii Coach, tackle myths and get the right information about weight training.
Push past your limits to the extent that your toughest workout now, becomes your warm up later! If you hit a wall, simply climb over it. What stops you from hitting the gym? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.