Guess the last two words of this topic make you uncomfortable, don't they?
You love keeping fit, after all, it makes you look younger than you really are. You even maintain a healthy diet and keep away from greasy food. But when you see the words "Weight training," visions of bald guys with bulging eyes and muscles the size of Krypton jump into your head. Thoughts like these make you see a perfect excuse to avoid lifting weights.
Crunches, leg raises, a little rope jumping and maybe some yoga make up most of your workout sessions. But when the guys beside you talk about lifting weights, you wonder if they have plans of being the Hulk of your neighbourhood. After all, who needs such muscles or so you think.
Sorry to break it to you, but those ideas are wrong!
Weight training is a lot more than grabbing super huge weights and adding muscle. It forms an important part of a well-rounded training program. It develops your general well-being and is ideal for everyone, regardless of fitness levels and age. Although a little intimidating at first, the benefits far exceed any fears you might have with giving this workout a try.
Still looking at this article with raised eyebrows? Well, let us tell you more about "pumping iron" and its super benefits.
What is Weight Training?
A lot of words considered synonyms are thrown around when it comes to weight training; they include weight lifting, strength training, resistance training and so much more.
But in reality, weight training is a popular type of strength training for enhancing the strength and size of the skeletal muscles. It uses the force of gravity in the form of dumbbells, weighted bars or weight stacks to fight back the force produced by muscle through a concentric or eccentric contraction. Weight training utilises a variety of specialised equipment to target distinct muscle groups and types of movement.
A manipulation of repetitions, sets of such repetitions, exercise types and weights, with the aim of increasing muscle size, strength and endurance make up the basic principles of weight training. The specific fusion of the above-named elements depends on the goals of the person engaging in the exercise.
Now for the good part, let us show you the benefits it has to offer you.
The Benefits of Weight Training
Helps You Get Rid Of Excess Body Fat:
Yes, you read right, weight training helps you lose weight. Studies show that it can go a long way in helping you shake off all that unwanted fat. Losing weight through diet alone is not a good way to lose fat. A combination of weight training and a reduced calorie diet will help you sustain muscle mass while burning fat.
Eases Depressive Symptoms and Stress:
Are you feeling anxious and stressed out? A good weight training session should help you out. Research shows resistance training can ease anxiety and tension. It has also been discovered that individuals who do not exercise have higher levels of stress hormones than those who do.
Additionally, weight training significantly reduces depressive symptoms in individuals. It is also interesting to know that the chemicals responsible for the "runners high" are released during resistance training. These chemicals go a long way in making you feel good.
You Lose More Calories:
Losing calories with weighted equipment or performing push-ups with weighted vests as a physical activity is fairly common knowledge. But did you know that weight training makes you burn more calories even when you are not engaged in any form of training? This is attributed to building muscle.
To maintain and use muscle cells, your body requires more calories. Additional muscle mass is gained by lifting weights or any other form of strength training which speeds up your body metabolism, turning your body into an efficient calorie burning machine in the process.
Prevents Fractures and Makes Your Bones Stronger:
Bones are always building and rebuilding; this makes them a living tissue. They get strengthened with exercise. Enhanced bone health and strength acquired through weight training over a period, maintains bone density and prevents bone loss.
Studies have shown that weight training reduces the risks of osteoporosis and accompanying fractures, especially in older adults.
Improves The Condition Of Your Heart:
Cardio exercises are mostly thought to be the right type of exercise for the heart. But are you aware that this form of exercise isn't the only one that can make your ticker healthy? You guessed right; weight training also benefits the general wellbeing of your heart.
Prevention and management of heart disease are some benefits of strength training discovered by various studies. Also, lifting weights with moderate intensity can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and increase the good ones.
Furthermore, the blood pressure is minimised by weight training, and the resulting increase in blood flow boosts the general wellbeing of your heart.
Helps Against Diabetes:
Have you ever wondered if push-ups or pull ups help with symptoms related to diabetes? The good news is that it can.
Regular weight training improves your glucose level control. It also significantly boosts your rate of insulin sensitivity.
Also, it regulates your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as previously stated which are both important in managing diabetes.
Gives You Better Bedtime:
We all love our bedtimes, don't we? Weight training greatly improves all aspects of sleep including its quality. Engaging in this form of exercise (at least two hours before bedtime) makes you sleep better and can help with sleeping disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
Guess your reluctance towards weight training is gradually ebbing away at this point. Ready to give it a try? Here are some tips to help you begin your weight training journey.
How To Make Your Weight Training More Effective
Begin With Your Body Weight:
Although your attention goes to the intimidating weights and extreme looking machines, there are many ways to perform weight training without using the heavy equipment. Simple bodyweight exercises such as push-ups or planks can be ideal ways to train your body.
Train Twice Weekly:
To get the maximum benefits from weight training, it should be done three to five times a week. But as a beginner, it is advisable you start with two to three days and slowly progress to a higher number. Work towards achieving 20-minute sessions, adding 10 minutes as time goes on until you have hit the 60-min mark.
Be Sure To Warm Up Before You Start:
Prepping your muscles before weight training reduces your risk of injury and makes you challenge yourself more during your workout. Clockwork lunges and lateral leg swings are ideal examples of warm-up exercises that can get your muscles ready for the action ahead.
Rest When Your Body Wants To:
It is perfectly normal to feel sore after an intense body workout. This is because when you exercise you cause microscopic damage to the tissue that you repair, building tougher muscle in the process. Take two to three days off to get those sore muscles up and running again.
As you can see, weight training is a lot more than supersized muscles and bald bodybuilders. It is a way to make you feel good and live a healthy life. Why don't you add this to your workout routine and enjoy its incredible benefits?
Check out our BodyICE blog for more tips on exercise and wellness.
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