How it offers much more than just bigger muscles

When we talk about getting in better shape, the type of exercise that is most often brought up is cardio. Things like walking, running, and biking are touted as great ways to shed pounds. But these types of activities are only part of a comprehensive physical fitness routine. Another important element is weight training. However, because many people think this is just a way to get bigger muscles, it’s often neglected. If you are in this category, you may want to change your feelings after reading about the many benefits.

It’s good for your heart

Sure, any sort of cardio exercise is a great way to get your blood flowing and pulse rate up, but weight training is also very good for your heart. A study from Appalachian State University found that just 45 minutes of moderate-intensity weightlifting can reduce blood pressure by 20 percent. An Iowa State University study revealed that even a small amount of weight training can be very effective. According to researchers, less than an hour per week can lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke by as much as 70 percent.

It can help prevent bone loss

Not only does weightlifting build muscle mass, it increases bone density. Beneficial for everyone, this is perhaps most important for older people. As we age, our bone mass decreases, making us more prone to fractures. Strength training is an excellent way to counter this. Muscles become stronger by adapting to the stress put on them, and the same is true for bones, says Dr. Vivian Ledesma. “Anytime your bones perceive stress, the response is that more bone will be deposited,” she said.

It lets you burn calories even when you’re not exercising

Lifting weights is a fantastic way to burn fat and increase muscle mass. But strength training also has another bonus: It lets you burn calories without even exercising. There is something referred to as the afterburn effect that comes after a high-intensity weight training session. Nick Clayton of the National Strength and Conditioning Association explains: “Muscle is metabolically active, meaning that the more of it you have on your body, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day even when you’re not exercising.”

It lowers the risk of diabetes

A study published in 2012 examined the effect of weight training on 32,000 men over an 18-year period. The men who lifted weights for 150 minutes or more every week cut their risk of diabetes by 34 percent. And when 150 minutes or more of the cardio exercise was included, that number went all the way up to 59 percent. The reason for this, says Dawn Sherr of the American Association of Diabetes Educators is that weight training is an excellent way to control blood glucose levels. “A lot of the resistance training actually improves insulin sensitivity,” she said. “Your blood sugar may not be as elevated if you develop more muscles.”

It’s great for your body and your mind

Cardiovascular exercise has been linked to improved mental wellbeing for a long time, but weight training can also help in this area. A report found that people who regularly lifted weights had much lower levels of anxiety. Strength training may also be able to help people suffering from depression. A study that focused on 40 women over eight weeks discovered that the effects for those who ran and those who used weights were almost identical.

While weight training can make your muscles bigger, this is far from the only thing it can do for you. So, the next time you’re at the gym, instead of just quickly walking by the weights to hop on a treadmill, think about stopping for a while. When you start looking and feeling better, you’ll thank us. You’ll also thank us for relieving any aches and pains you experience while working out with our effective roll-on pain reliever.