Lifting weights is sometimes seen as a high-risk fitness activity. It may have something to do with certain videos of horrific weight lifting accidents, which have been posted far and wide. However, these incidents are only notable because they are not the norm.
Most weight lifters will testify that lifting has had a positive effect on their overall health. We all know that lifting is a good way to build muscle, but there is a lot more to the story than that. Let’s take a look at some of the proven health benefits that come from lifting weights.
Stronger Muscles And Bones
The ability of weight lifting to build strong muscles is so well known that it doesn’t require proof. However, we want to be thorough in our research, so here it is. As you can see, there is a definite and well-proven relationship between weight lifting and improved strength.
It may surprise you to learn that weight lifting also leads to stronger bones. In this study, researchers found that resistance training has a positive and significant effect on the density of human bone. To put this in plainer terms: weight lifting can actually make your bones thicker and stronger!
Trimming The Fat
Losing weight is another benefit of weight training. Research has shown that people who engaged in a weight lifting program were more likely to lose excess weight and less likely to gain it back. Further, they found that diet pills and the like did not help. Those who avoided such medications were actually more likely to lose weight. The lesson here is that there are no shortcuts. Losing weight takes hard work, and that’s all there is to the matter.
Improved Cognitive Function
That feeling of exhausted satisfaction that you feel after a good workout is more than just a feeling. It seems to be true that exercise (particularly weight training) can have a positive effect on your mental performance and cognitive function.
To test this theory, a group of psychologists conducted a study, using patients who were both overweight and mentally ill. After engaging in resistance training, these patients showed noticeable improvement in many areas of mental performance, especially memory and processing speed.
In spite of some claims to the contrary, weight lifting cannot literally reverse aging. However, research suggests that this type of training can have a beneficial effect on the aging process.
As we get older, we begin to experience sarcopenia, a condition in which the muscles begin to deteriorate. Loss of strength and mobility is the most common result. However, there is ample evidence to show that weight lifting and other forms of resistance training can prevent and even reverse the effects of sarcopenia.
The world is a stressful place. Unless you are one of those lucky individuals that have been blessed with an uncomplicated and peaceful life, you need a way to blow off steam. If you don’t find a release, you could very well end up releasing that aggression in a way that is harmful to yourself or others.
Exercise is one of the best and healthiest ways to reduce stress. Lots of studies have been performed on this subject, and the results have disagreed in some cases. However, the general trend seems to be that resistance training results in an increased production of endorphins.
Endorphins are special hormones produced by the central nervous system. They fulfill a few different functions, but their most important jobs are to suppress pain and produce feelings of euphoric pleasure. Endorphins are released whenever we do something that is pleasurable or exciting, and weight training falls into the latter category.
Reduced Risk Of Diabetes
There is evidence to show that regular and intense resistance training can reduce your risk factor for diabetes. As you might know, diabetes is a disease that causes the body to become incapable of regulating blood sugar/insulin levels.
Regular exercise of any sort will reduce your risk of diabetes, but many diabetics concentrate primarily on aerobic exercise for its weight-loss benefits. Many diabetics also suffer from body weight issues, so this is natural to some extent.
However, the research tells another story. According to this study, all forms of exercise will help the body to exert a higher level of glycemic control. Both aerobic and resistance training was evaluated, and both produced improvements in the condition of those tested. Nevertheless, researchers found that the best results came from a combination of the two. This level of glycemic control is helpful for those who already have diabetes, and also for those seeking to avoid the disease.
Risks To Consider
As with any program of intense physical exercise, you should always consult your doctor before you begin. Most people should have no problem with weight training, but there is a question of degree.
The main danger to watch for in this department is the danger of lifting too much weight at once. Trying to push yourself, especially if you have health issues, is the most common weight lifting mistake, and it often results in injury. The best way to avoid this is to start with a weight that is a little bit too small and work your way up to a normal level.
The benefits of weight training are too numerous to count. Although we have chosen to focus on the above matters, this list is by no means complete. Health trends come and go, but one thing that never changes is the need for regular exercise. As such, weight training may be the best one because it offers so many benefits.
One thing we didn’t mention is the huge boost of confidence that you can obtain by lifting weights and improving both your physical strength and muscular definition. You can impress others, or (if you don’t care about that) you can still have the satisfaction of knowing that you are strong enough to handle whatever life may throw your way. Please follow us on Facebook so that we can help you to achieve these results, and become the swelled-up behemoth that you want to be!