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Whether you call it “pumping iron,” “lifting weights,” or “resistance training,” strength training is an important way to improve your general health and boost your well-being, at any age and any level of fitness.
Many people are intimidated at first by the idea that they should be doing strength training, but understanding how significantly it can contribute to your health should encourage you to get over the fear of working with weights.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to get into resistance training, we hope these seven facts will convince you to try some weight lifting the next time you work out.
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1 – …Helps You Burn More Calories
Why does strength training keep your metabolism running at high speed, even outside of workout time? It has to do with the fact that strength training builds muscle.
Maintaining, building, and using muscle cells require more energy than maintaining fat cells. Therefore, if you increase your body’s muscle mass by lifting weights, you’re helping to speed up the rate at which your metabolism burns calories.
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2 – …Helps You Deal With Stress
Strength training has been demonstrated to be a great way to reduce feelings of anxiety and tension, which helps to reduce stress. Research has shown that stress-hormone levels are generally lower in people who work out and stay fit than in people who get little or no exercise.
Exercise involving lifting weights has even been shown to help relieve symptoms of depression. This goes to show that resistance training has benefits for the mind as well as the body!
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3 – …Improves Cardiovascular Health
The American Heart Association has endorsed strength training as one of the best ways to maintain a healthy heart. Studies have proven that the effects of strength training can not only help reduce the risk of heart disease, but can even alleviate some problems and reduce the risk of further problems developing in heart disease sufferers.
Moreover, studies have also been conducted that have linked moderately intense weight-lifting workouts with shifting the balance of cholesterol in the body in favor of good cholesterol, which also helps maintain heart health.
4 – …Helps Maintain Healthy Bone Density
A strength training routine, as well as running, walking, and other kinds of weight-bearing exercise, can actually maintain or improve your bone density, keeping your bones strong and healthy. Lifting weights has even been proven to decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis or bone fractures related to it.
5 – …Helps You Slim Down
Because weight lifting boosts your metabolism and helps you burn off more calories, it also helps decrease your body fat. Penn State University has done a study that found that those who lifted weights as part of their exercise routine were able to lose an average of 6 pounds more than those who did not.
6 – …Helps You Concentrate Better At Work
Brain health can also improve with strength training. An article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that among older women, those who lifted weights for one to two hours per week were able to plan and perform various tasks better than those who did not, and demonstrated comparatively better cognitive function.
If your boss ever asks you to work overtime on an evening when you had planned to work out, you might want to tell her that you need that workout to keep your mental focus sharp!
7 – …Helps You Sleep Better
Exercising right before you go to bed isn’t always a good idea, because the increased physical activity can make falling asleep more difficult. However, getting in a strength training workout in the evening (at least 2 hours prior to going to bed) has been proven to fight against insomnia and help reduce the risk of sleep apnea. Not only that, but after a good, solid strength training workout, getting some rest feels great!
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