Weight lifting is no longer just for men or bodybuilders that just want to get stronger and bigger. Women now can also benefit from lifting weights. Weight training is the type of exercise which will typically have the greatest effect on your long-term metabolic rate, therefore is the one you should really focus on if you hope to control your body weight months down the road. Here are the top 10 health benefits of weight lifting:
1. Muscle Fights Fat
Want to eat that extra piece of pizza without feeling guilty? Lift weights. In study published in the February 2008 issue of Cell Metabolism, Boston University researchers demonstrated that type II muscle fibers, the kind you build when you lift weights, improve whole-body metabolism. The researchers genetically engineered mice with a type II muscle growth-regulating gene that could be turned on and off. After eight weeks on a high-fat, high-sugar diet, they activated the gene, but did not change the mice’s diet. Without any change in activity level, the mice lost total body fat. The researchers concluded that an increase in type II muscle fibers can reduce body fat without changes to diet and might be effective in the fight against obesity.
2. Gain Strength Without Bulking
One of the most common reasons women avoid weight training is because they are afraid of “bulking.” This is a misconception as it physically can not happen. Women simply don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men. Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men and have a much harder time gaining size from strength training. Instead women develop muscle definition and strength without the size.
3. Fight Osteoporosis
As you age, you naturally lose muscle and bone mass. This is of special concern for women, whose bones are smaller to begin with and can become dangerously weakened by age, and this is something weightlifting can fight. Just as your muscles adapt to the stress of weightlifting by becoming bigger and stronger, your bones also adapt. Anytime your bones perceive stress, the response is that more bone will be deposited.
4. Burn More Calories
Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout there is more Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.
5. Move With Ease
Body awareness, or being able to recruit the proper muscles in the right sequence, is key for moving in a way that is both efficient and safe in daily life. When you get out of your car, there’s a pattern in which your muscles are recruited that is correct; you activate your midsection, rotate your trunk, bring your leg out of the car, fire your hamstrings then glutes, then stand up. Doing a squat in the gym, helps you to learn how to perform those movements correctly, rather than doing what most people do, which is to put the pressure into their toes and the quads with no core stability at all.
6. Enhance Mood and Reduce Stress
Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increased in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one.
7. Better Heart Health
Keep your ticker in top form by pumping iron, says a study conducted by researchers at the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University. The study looked at what happens to arteries and blood flow after 45 minutes of moderate-intensity strength training and found that there was up to a 20 percent decrease in blood pressure — a benefit equal to or surpassing that of taking anti-hypertensive drugs. The blood flow-improving effects of resistance exercise persisted for about 30 minutes after the end of a training session and continued for as long as 24 hours in people who trained regularly — 30 to 45 minutes a few times a week.
8. Better Blood Sugar Control
Whether you have diabetes or risk factors, weightlifting can help regulate blood glucose, according to a study published on the Nature Medicine website in April 2013. Researchers of the study report that weight training encourages the growth of white muscle, which aids in lowering blood glucose because it uses glucose for energy. Mammals, like poultry, have different colors of muscle ranging from red to white. Red muscle, which uses fat oxidation to generate energy, is more prevalent in endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, while white muscle is abundant in weightlifters and sprinters.
9. Reduce Risk of Injury
Weight training also increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve sports performance.
10. Better posture and balance
Weightlifting may help strengthen the muscles of your core, those that support your spine, and other little muscles apart from the main muscle groups. They lessen the discomfort or back pain and undo some of the damage caused by sitting all day. Also those muscles help keep you upright and take care of everyday tasks such as balancing on one foot when walking or stopping yourself from falling.