Weightlifting is often stereotyped as being only for men who are looking to bulk up or create a chiseled look; however, this is not the case. There are many benefits of lifting weights that go beyond aesthetics and it is for more than just men. Weightlifting is very beneficial for both men and women and it assists in greater things besides preparing for swim suit season.
Some benefits are obvious such as muscle gain and increased strength, but there are more advantages that not everyone is aware of. I’m a big proponent of weightlifting and have personally witnessed its positive effects. Here are some major benefits of ditching the treadmill and hitting the weights instead:
- Increased metabolism and fat loss
Cardio is often the go-to activity when a person is looking to lose fat, however, weightlifting can be used as a more efficient tool. The more muscle a person has, the greater amount of calories he or she will burn at rest. Additionally, weight training has what is called an “afterburn effect” or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).” This means that the body continues to burn calories after a person stops exercising because the body consumes more oxygen after exercising than before; it is trying to restore its energy levels and bring the body back to a normal state of operation. Because of all of this, high-intensity weight training is a great tool to torch calories and lose weight.
- Increased confidence
Weightlifting increases confidence in a few ways. First off, achieving set goals is a primary source of boosting a person’s confidence: this is the core of weightlifting. Hitting PRs and seeing improvements in strength and physique are great ways to lift a person’s self-esteem. Additionally, exercise increases endorphins within the body, which in turn, reduces the body’s perception of pain and creates a positive mood.
- Improves sleep and energy levels
There have been studies that show a positive correlation between quality sleep and weight training. Regular exercises helps regulate the body’s hormones and reduces stress, along with acting as an energy outlet. Because of these things, the body is more likely to experience improved sleep patterns and more consistent energy levels.
- Fights osteoporosis
Lifting weights has been found to be a very effective method in decreasing the chance of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which there is a decrease in bone mass as well as an increase in the space between bones, resulting in porosity (holes) and fragility. It is very common to occur as a person ages, and is more often found in women than men. Weight training can help combat this because over time, the body adapts to the stress of lifting weights and increases both muscle and bone strength.
- Increased sports performance
Weightlifting often correlates with improved performance when paired with conditioning for a specific sport. By being in the gym, an athlete is able to strengthen the specific muscles used for his or her particular sport and develop skills such as explosiveness and increased coordination. As a result, the athlete is able to push at a higher intensity in his or her game because the individual has previously been able to tax his or her muscles while working in the gym.
- Increased stability and flexibility
Weight training is a great way to improve a person’s stability and flexibility. Body awareness, which is being able to recruit the proper muscles in the right sequence, is a skill gained from lifting weights; as a result, a person is able to move with greater ease. Also, lifting weights improves balance because a variety of muscles are recruited when performing different exercises. Furthermore, a person’s core is activated more frequently when weightlifting than during other forms of exercise such as steady-state cardio; core strength is the key to stability and balance because it is a person’s center of gravity and is essential for proper movement of an individual’s lower body.
- Increased mental strength
Lastly, weightlifting has been shown to increase a person’s mental strength. This goes hand in hand with increased confidence, but by pushing one’s body to certain physical limits, the individual is able to learn various skills such as perseverance and self-discipline. Overall, acquiring these skills and learning how to overcome obstacles and challenges will result in improved mental stamina.
There are many other benefits to lifting weights, but these are just a few that I wanted to highlight. Now that you know how great this sport is for you, it’s time to hit the weights!