Strength Training

Men doing weights

7 Health Benefits of Lifting Weights

When it comes to weightlifting and strength training, gym users tend to fall into one of two camps: either they love it or they hate it.

Whether it’s down to a lack of knowledge or misconceptions, many people stick to cardio and bodyweight exercises, thinking the weights area is exclusively for bulking up.

But don’t let this stigma fool you into thinking that weightlifting isn’t for you. There are a number of amazing health benefits that come with choosing dumbbells over the cardio equipment and classes, and some of them may surprise you.

What is strength training?

Strength training — also known as weight training, muscular training or resistance training — is a form of exercise that focuses on building and developing muscular strength and endurance.

It involves performing various resistance exercises, including traditional weightlifting with dumbbells and barbells, utilising resistance bands, or performing bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats. 

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The benefits of lifting weights 

1. Increases strength 

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first: lifting weights can make you stronger.

Even exercising with light weights will help to build your muscular endurance, but if it’s physical strength you’re looking for, the heavier, the better. By adding compound lifts like squats and deadlifts to your regular workout routine, you’ll increase your strength at an incredible rate.

This newfound strength isn’t limited to the gym; from lifting shopping bags to carrying luggage, you’ll feel more capable and confident in your physical abilities. And let’s not forget the aesthetic perks that come along with it — you’ll not only feel, but also look stronger than ever before!

2. Helps burn more calories

Although cardio workouts might initially burn more calories, don’t underestimate the impact of strength training on your metabolism. Strength training can elevate your metabolic rate – the rate at which your body burns calories to sustain daily activities and basic functions. So even when you’re relaxing after your workout, your body continues to burn calories efficiently. 

In fact, a recent study focusing on resistance training in women revealed that their overall basal metabolic rate remained elevated for up to 48 hours post-exercise! And that’s not all – another study published by the National Library of Medicine showed that just ten weeks of resistance training can boost resting metabolic rate by a remarkable 7%.

3. Strengthens your bones 

Weightlifting doesn’t just strengthen your muscles: it strengthens your bones, too. A study found muscle mass decreases by approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30. And this age-related decline can lead to reduced strength, mobility, and overall functional abilities. 

Thankfully, studies have shown that regularly lifting heavy weights can not only maintain bone mass but can build bone density, too. And, according to the NHS, if you regularly participate in strength exercises that naturally improve your balance and coordination, you are also less likely to become vulnerable to falls and accidents — especially as you get older.

So, the next time you hit the gym to lift those weights, remember that you’re not only building strong muscles but also a foundation for long-term bone health and injury prevention. 

4. Tones your body

Have you ever wondered how people achieve that perfectly toned physique? While cardio workouts like HIIT are undoubtedly effective for weight loss, they may not be enough on their own if you want to tone up.

This is where strength training comes in! Adding a set of toning exercises with your cardio workout will help to tighten and strengthen your muscles. As you lose body fat and simultaneously build stronger and larger muscles, you start showcasing more muscle definition, creating a leaner, athletic appearance.

Plus, muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space in your body — even when you compare the same weight of each. As a result, you might drop inches around your waist without noticing a significant change in your weight when you step on the scales.  

5. Reduces your risk of injury

Have you ever woken up after a long session on the treadmill with sore knees and stiff hips? Well, weightlifting may be the solution you’re looking for. And it’s not just running it’s good for: weight training is also great for sports with heavy footfalls, like football or tennis.

Training your muscles with weightlifting can lead to improved strength and enhanced mobility. You also strengthen the muscles surrounding key joints, like your ankles and knees. And this means they become more resilient and better equipped to handle the stress of physical activity, whether you’re engaging in sports or hitting the gym, limiting the risk of injury.

6. Helps improve your cardio performance 

If there’s one universal truth to strength training, it’s that stronger muscles mean better performance.

Adding weightlifting to your workouts is a brilliant way to improve your running and swimming pace, as stronger core muscles will help to better support your body’s weight. Plus, once you’ve built up strength in your arms and legs, they’ll become more powerful to give you the boost you need to hit your personal best!

As your muscles become stronger and more efficient, they also require less oxygen and energy to perform everyday tasks, allowing your heart and lungs to work more effectively during cardio exercises. So whether you’re training for a marathon or just want to improve your swimming ability, remember to incorporate weightlifting into your fitness routine. 

7. Improves your mood

The benefits of strength training are not just physical — you can also receive a serious boost to your mood and self-esteem.

Exercise releases neurotransmitters like endorphins and dopamine, which are often referred to as the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. According to the NHS, these neurotransmitters play a crucial role in supporting good mental health, improving your mood and motivation and reducing feelings of stress. They also stimulate your brain, helping you stay focused and energetic.  

It’s not just these hormones that make you feel good, either. For first-time weightlifters, watching yourself progress and lift heavier weights than you thought possible is a fantastic way to build your confidence, too!

Get Started At Diverse Fitness Today

If you are looking to start something new and get your body feeling stronger, our gym will be the perfect option. Download our app to get started, or get in touch with us.

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