Look at the latest fitness magazine and you are sure to see men and women who have bodies most of us can only dream of.
Not only are they chiseled and toned, but many of them also look very happy.
And while its no secret many of those images are photoshopped, what you can’t deny is the fact that those models put in a lot of work at the gym.
We all know that lifting weights can improve your overall body composition, but did you also know it can improve your health?
Here are 5 never talked about benefits of lifting weight.
Relieves Symptoms of Depression
Most of us are aware of the positive effects aerobic exercise can have on depression. But did you know weightlifting can be just as effective at relieving symptoms of depression?
In 2004 The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry published a very interesting study.
The study, which followed 40 women over the course of 8 weeks, found that lifting weights has similar effects on depression as aerobic exercise.
Even better is the fact that many participants remained non depressed during follow ups.
As we get older we naturally start to lose muscle and bone mass. This is more common in women because they tend to have smaller bones than men.
Weight lifting is a great way to keep your bones strong as you age. When you lift weights your bones adapt to the stress by getting bigger and stronger.
The stronger your bones are, the less likely you will be to develop osteoporosis.
The body is made up of various muscle groups. And while it is the larger muscle groups such as the hamstrings, chest, shoulders, and quadriceps that make our body look appealing, it is the smaller muscle groups that keep us stable.
Every time you lift weights you are indirectly targeting the smaller muscle groups that are responsible for ensuring you are able to do simple, everyday tasks.
Things such as balancing on one foot and maintaining your balance on a slippery surface are only possible when your stabilizer muscles are strong.
Lifting weights will ensure those muscles remain strong as you age. Which is extremely important being that falling is one of the leading causes of injury related deaths in individuals over the age of 65.
Prevents Back Pain
With more and more people working from home and living a more sedentary lifestyle, back pain is becoming all too common.
The good news is weight lifting can help you alleviate the pain and stiffness that is often associated with back pain.
When you lift weights you strengthen your core muscles. These are the muscles that are responsible for supporting your spine.
When your core muscles are strong the damage done from sitting all day might not be as severe.
To help prevent back pain there are certain exercises you should focus on. They are step ups, squats, and most importantly, hip extensions.
When you are first starting use only your body weight. As you get stronger you can add resistance to make the exercises more challenging.
Doing abdominal exercises such as the plank is also a great way to strengthen your core muscles and prevent back pain.
Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Lifting weights is one of the best ways to keep your heart in tip top condition. So says a study done by researchers at the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University.
The study found that after a 45 minute moderate-intensity strength training workout there was a drop in blood pressure by up to 20 percent.
In most cases that is better than the results you would get from taking blood pressure medicine.
The improvement in blood flow continued for about 30 minutes after the training session was over. Even better is the fact that those who trained several times a week for 30-45 minutes saw their blood flow improvement last as long as 24 hours.
How To Get Started With Weight Lifting
Now that you know just a few of the benefits associated with lifting weights, the next step is to get started.
Starting a weight lifting routine is not easy. Especially if you have never done it before.
The easiest way to get started is to just get started. Get online and research beginner friendly weight lifting routines.
If you don’t have a gym membership, or you just aren’t comfortable working out in a gym, look for workouts you can do from home.
And keep in mind you can get started with just your body weight. You don’t need anything fancy to get the ball rolling.
As you get stronger you can invest in a pair of dumbbells to keep your progress going in the right direction.
With so many different websites and apps there really is no excuse for you not to get started.