Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to lift weights to participate in weight training and those muscles you strengthen might not become bulky. In fact, any weight-bearing exercise is appropriate and many styles lead to the formation of long, lean muscles. Another myth about lifting weights is that people only do this if they want to become bodybuilders, are athletes, or they are purely interested in how good their bodies will look. This kind of training offers many benefits to men and women, most of them invisible to the naked eye.
Weight Training Benefits at Every Age
Scientific studies abound regarding the usefulness of lifting dumbbells, doing push-ups, and using free weights as part of a well-rounded exercise program. Tests have shown that cardiovascular strength, while important, is not enough on its own to prevent many common problems assailing North Americans.
One of these is inadequate bone density caused by a sedentary lifestyle. While impact is important (playing soccer or walking) to regenerating bone marrow and, thus, building the bones, weight lifting also contributes to the integrity of your bones. Young people with inadequate bone structure are more likely to develop osteoporosis and to experience fractures. Older people are many times more likely to break a bone if they slip because those bones are brittle as a result of doing too little weight-bearing exercise, be it yoga or overhead presses.
Weight lifting will work your heart and lungs too: as long as you are doing it right. While pushing your biceps to curl with enough weight in your hands so you feel the strain, you breathe harder. Your heart thumps in your chest. A brisk walk is good for you too, but that is only one way to get your heart rate up.
The older we get, the more likely we are to lose our balance, one reason why older individuals experience more fractures to their thighs, hips, and wrists. Muscle-building exercises increase balance and general core strength, resulting in fewer back injuries. If you do fall, you are less likely to break something because of better bone density and muscular support around vulnerable areas.
Learning new motions and concentrating so as to perform them effectively is a good brain workout. This is something mature North Americans are thinking about as they aim to prevent Alzheimer’s. While Sudoku is great for that, lifting weights offers benefits to the entire body.
Weight Loss with Weights
For years, aerobics gurus have taught consumers that the way to lose weight is to sweat and get out of breath. You should jump around as much as possible. If you find this fun and are going to stick with aerobic routines, then they will help you meet your weight loss goal. For someone who wants to train less but do it intelligently, training with weights is more effective. You burn more calories at rest with every pound of muscle you lay down. Better yet, you will feel better emotionally and less likely to give in to emotional cravings for donuts and creamy coffee drinks. A strong body supports a strong will to succeed.
See this Weight Training guide for beginner.