Why weight lifting is for everyone

Most of us realize the health benefits we achieve when we work out aerobically - walking, running, swimming, or bicycling.  We also may have experienced the relaxation and rejuvenation of stretching our muscles through yoga or pilates.  But the one area some of you may still be hesitating to take up is weight lifting. 

Depending on your age, lifting weights may be seen as more of an activity younger people or skilled athletes participate in.  Some of you may never have lifted weights and are unsure of proper form and possibly injuring yourself.  Or you believe lifting weights will cause you to look much bulkier than what you are wanting.  Don’t let any of those beliefs hold you back.  Weight lifting is important for everyone, no matter what your age or skill level.  Here’s why:

·      You’ll have toned, strong muscles

Lifting weights will help define and tone muscles giving you an improved appearance.  In addition, lifting weights regularly makes everyday tasks so much easier – carrying groceries, carrying kids, lifting heavy items from the floor, gardening, or making the bed.   

·      Your clothes will fit better

When your muscles are toned and strong, suddenly your clothes fit better making you look healthier and in shape.

·      You’ll burn more calories

Building muscles means creates lean muscle mass which is more metabolically active helping you burn extra calories even at rest.  You essentially become a calorie-burning machine throughout the day.  Your metabolism is raised which is an added bonus in helping you with weight loss.

·      You’ll handle stress better and helps relieve anxiety

Weight lifting releases the “feel good” hormones called endorphins.  There is also the feeling of accomplishment and pride in yourself reinforcing you to want to return regularly to lift weights achieving that feeling time and time again. 

·      You’ll build stronger bones

Weight lifting is a terrific weight bearing exercise, necessary to build not just strong muscles but also strong bones.  When your bones are stronger, your risk of osteoporosis is reduced. 

·      Your risk of injury is reduced

One reason why coaches want their athletes in the weight room is to help reduce the risk of injuries.  You don’t have to be an athlete to gain this benefit.  Lifting weights not only makes muscles and bones strong but also connective tissue – all the ligaments and tendons helping move your body.  When connective tissue is strong, you can do more work with less risk of injury.

·      Your balance, mobility and stability will be improved

If you fail to engage in keeping your muscles strong, muscle mass is reduced leading to a loss of balance. You will become more unstable affecting your ability to move with ease and increasing the risk of falls. Lifting weights allows your joints to move through a full range of motion keeping you steady on your feet along with enhancing your ability to move in general.

·      Your risk of heart disease is reduced

As you lift weights, you breathe more deeply causing your heart rate to go up giving you a mini aerobic workout.  Not only does your heart get a workout but your blood pressure tends to go down when you pump iron regularly.

·      You’ll age more gracefully

Having a toned, strong body gives a person that boost of self-confidence knowing that you not only look better but feel better.  Feeling good about oneself results in enjoying life to its fullest. You’ll be more capable of participating in activities making you happy which makes anyone seem much younger than their years.

Making weight lifting a part of your fitness routine

If weighting lifting is new to you, check with your physician before starting and always start off slowly, lifting light weights.  Consult with a personal trainer or attend a weight lifting class to learn proper form and how heavy of weights to start off with. 

Weight training does not have to be intimidating.  You can lift as light of weights you want or build up to heavier weights achieving your personal fitness goals.  The important thing is to take the initiative to begin lifting discovering how well your body will respond to a healthy method of getting in shape.