Why should I lift weights?
This is a question I get asked a lot as a personal trainer. Some people believe that only men should lift weights as women become too bulky, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Women lack the necessary hormones to put on large amounts of muscle. However, women can gain muscle tone and this important for a host of reasons. The fact remains that both men and women need to lift weights to maximise benefits of exercise for health.
The benefits of weight training are well documented. Resistance training will help to:
* Slow down the ageing process
* Help you lose weight
* Help you tone up your muscles
* Produce endorphins (happy hormones!) into the blood stream
* Improve your energy levels
* Lower your body fat
* Improve your sleep
It also increases your muscular strength, which is very handy for when you need to lift the spuds out of the shopping trolley! It improves your balance, particularly if you do single leg work, this reduces your risk of falls as you age. It strengthens joints and ligaments, and more importantly for women, it helps to maintain bone density. As women age, changes in hormones mean they become more susceptible to osteoporosis. By lifting weights the bones are placed under stress and undergo changes resulting in stronger bones.
Weight training gives you more bang for your buck when it comes to weight loss. Exercising burns calories but with weights the “after burn” effect is greater than say walking so you continue to burn calories even after you have put down the dumbbell. At the same time the more you train the stronger the muscle must become, this results in muscle growth. Your body needs more energy to fuel these muscles and so you burn even more calories! So, if you want to be leaner with a toned body, a well-balanced weight training programme is ideal.
Weight training improves everyone’s ability to do everyday activities, and men and women, young and old, can get benefits from adding a basic weight exercise to their exercise routine. The important thing is that you constantly challenge the body in order to get results. In next week's article, I will go through some basic exercises to help get you started.
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