Many people associate weight training with Muscle Beach. They imagine steroid enhanced glistening bodies flexing as they perform countless numbers of biceps curls. The truth is that men, women, teens, seniors and everyone in between can not only benefit from weight training, but also have fun doing it.
What is Weight Training?
Weight Training, aka strength training, is a type of exercise that involves using resistance to build muscle strength and endurance. You can use your own body weight, resistance bands, and of course you can use dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and on and on.
And before you mutter that body weight isn’t enough to get a good workout, try performing 50 bodyweight squats right now. Yep, you’ll feel the burn. You’ll probably feel the burn tomorrow too. However, once your muscles have recovered they’ll be leaner and stronger.
So, you know what weight training is. You know that big burly men do it and so do little old ladies. But what are the benefits of weight training? Why bother?
You may know that you lose muscle mass as you age. Yep, every year you get older, your muscle mass fades away. But all is not lost. Nope, that muscle mass is replaced with fat. Yay, fat. However, if you add weight training to your weekly workout routine, you’ll not only slow down the loss of muscle, you’ll actually reverse it. Instead of getting a fat bum, for example, you’ll gain buns of steel. And because muscle burns more calories than fat, you’ll boost your metabolism and lose weight too. That’s another thing that slows down as you age – your metabolism. So strength training helps you lose weight now and maintain a healthy weight as you age.
Osteoporosis and Other Conditions
Strength training requires your bones, ligaments, and tendons to do extra work to They all strengthen as they’re bearing the burden of the weight. Your bones become stronger so they slow down the mineral loss, which ultimately reduces risk of osteoporosis. According to a study conducted by the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson, strength training does have a positive impact on bone density as well as soft tissue lean mass.
The study was designed to evaluate the effects of 18 months of resistance exercise on regional and total bone mineral density and soft tissue lean mass in women aged 28-39, randomly assigned to an exercise or control group. The results for bone density showed “significant regional increases” for bone density.(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7484276)
Improved Neurological Function
Strength training is often used as part of a treatment plan when people suffer from neurological conditions. One of the reasons for this is to help a patient remain as functional as possible. Another reason is that strength training often requires a person to make new mind/body connections.
For example, if you’ve never performed a deadlift or a squat, you have to learn how to perform the movement safely and correctly. As you learn the various movements required, your brain begins to tell your body how to move and new connections are created.
Finally, weight lifting helps boost stamina, manage chronic conditions like arthritis, heart disease and diabetes and it can help improve your ability to focus and concentrate. Muscles don’t just look good, they feel good too, and they improve your overall health. The benefits of weight training are incredible and an excellent way to improve fitness and vitality.