There are a few reasons weight lifting has become one of the most popular forms of exercise in 2022. In the past, this intensive workout has been culturally reserved for masculine figures, hoping to gain some bulk. But today, you’ll find a much wider variety of bodies lifting weights for their physical and mental health benefits.
Because weights are much heavier than objects, you’d ordinarily lift on a day-to-day basis, they build muscle much more efficiently than alternative strength-training methods.
When used correctly, they can significantly boost your physical strength, help shed unwanted calories, fortify heart health, and even alleviate the pressure of certain mental health issues. When they become a healthy habit, embarking on a weightlifting program can change your life.
Humans have been practicing different forms of weight lifting for thousands of years, and the results speak for themselves.
Read on to find out more about how this intensive form of physical training can benefit your body and mind and change your life for the better.
Weight lifting is one of the most effective ways to build muscle and strength. Everyone from pro athletes to beginners in the gym can utilize weights to steadily advance their strength limitations and develop a foundation of strength that remains (and expands) throughout their life.
The abrupt heaviness of a weight forces the muscles to adapt and overcome their load, driving the body to tap into as much strength as possible. This accelerates the strength-building process, especially in comparison to lower-intensity training exercises like squats or push-ups.
If you’re disciplined and maintain a routine where your weights are incrementally increased over a long period of time, you’ll find yourself stronger than you would with almost any other form of exercise. Some forms of exercise which focus on building muscle strength are:
Heart health is extremely important for overall physical health, and weight lifting is one way to improve it. Several studies over the years have shown that adhering to a regular weight lifting program can improve blood circulation, lower cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and strengthen blood vessels.
There are many ways to improve the state of your heart, and weight lifting is one of the most effective ways to do that. It serves as a form of intensive cardio, causing your heart to circulate better and decreasing the chance of blood clots, low blood pressure, and heart disease.
Strength training can also play a role in monitoring body weight and blood sugar levels. Regular weight lifting is great for your heart, not just today, but also for years down the line. Here are some effective ways you could use this tip to boost your heart health starting today:
Many people turn to weight lifting as a form of weight loss training. This is because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so the more muscle you have, the easier it will be to lose weight.
If you turn to weight lifting as your form of weight-loss exercise, you may see results a lot faster than with other programs. This is because the practice of building up muscle mass also increases your metabolic rate, which is an important part of the weight loss process.
Some studies indicate that your metabolic rate increases over the 72-hour period following a session of weight lifting—meaning that your body will continue to burn calories for up to three days after a single session, which is significant compared to other forms of exercise. Other calorie-burning methods are:
When it comes to exercise, looking for a quick fix is rarely going to create positive, long-lasting results. However, you can still pick a strength-training route that works faster than others—and weight lifting is one of them.
With other forms of training, you typically focus on simply activating and engaging the muscles at a comfortable yet challenging pace. Weight lifting takes things a few steps further, exposing your muscles to unfamiliar weights, prompting the body to work harder and be more efficient with its energy distribution. The effort is increased, but so is the reward.
While many people begin a weight lifting program to improve their physical performance, the mental health benefits of this form of exercise are equally worthy of appraisal.
One of the most prominent ways to perceive the positive mental effects of weight lifting is through the production of happy, healthy hormones, particularly endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and even the natural painkiller hormone, norepinephrine.
These organic chemicals are essential for mood regulation, and weight lifting is a one-way ticket to their production. The more often you engage in high-intensity weight lifting routines, the more consistently and sustainably your body can produce these hormones.
That means less stress, less anxiety, better sleep, better sexual intercourse, and a more generally stable mental state. If you’re battling unpredictable mood swings or are simply eager to create more mind and body balance in your life, these forms of exercise may also provide support:
When your muscles are constantly being worked on for improvement, your risk of injury naturally decreases. This is because your body needs strength, mobility, and flexibility to prevent falls, and weight lifting provides a solid foundation for these important areas to develop.
Through regular weight lifting and training, your body’s joints can also become stronger, making you more resistant to injuries, which becomes increasingly important with age.
Some studies even suggest that weight lifting can improve the strength of bones, preventing breakage. Weight lifting applies intense but temporary stress on the bones, helping to prevent the development of osteoporosis, fractures, and breakage of any kind. Other forms of exercise aimed at injury prevention include:
The brain might not be the first organ you think of strengthening when it comes to weight lifting, but it benefits from this exercise just as much as any other, if not more. People who engage in weight lifting training have shown better brain health and prevention against cognitive decline.
This is because resistance training has many neuroprotective effects. It improves blood flow to the brain, reduces inflammation, and amplifies the expression of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factors). This increases the brain’s ability to learn and hold on to new information.
The body needs to be regularly exercised and challenged to secure proper blood circulation and ensure that enough oxygen is reaching the brain. Weight lifting is an extremely physically challenging practice, gifting the brain a strong flow of oxygen and access to essential natural chemicals.
When it comes to processing speed, memory recollection, and executive function, weight lifting has shown to be very effective, particularly with older adults. Other brain-focused forms of exercise are:
Physical strength makes us feel good. Not just because we feel stronger and more capable of tackling life, but also because it can help us sculpt a body that we feel proud and confident in. The stronger you are, the more capable you feel, adding to your sense of self-confidence and self-esteem.
If you stick to a training program that focuses on building muscle, your body may become strong enough to no longer need others to help you do certain things, such as lifting a heavy box or carrying five bags of groceries to the car. Even little changes like these can impact your perception of yourself positively.
Feeling independent is a huge part of forming a lasting sense of self-confidence. Weight training can amplify your trust in your body and help you become the powerful person you always knew you were.
When it comes down to it, weight lifting is just a method you can use to improve the overall quality of your life and your health. As with any form of exercise, it does require a lot of effort and dedication, but the results are well worth the sweat and tears.
A recent study on the effects of weight training on adults over the age of 50 reported a substantial improvement in physical functioning, mental functioning, mood management, stress reduction, pain management, and general health. This may be because weight lifting targets more than one aspect of health, creating a balanced dynamic of physical, mental, and even emotional vitality.
No matter what your fitness goals are, weight lifting has shown tremendous promise in various health ranges. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle mass, regulate stress levels, or improve brain health, weight lifting can do all of those things and more.
To recap: The evidence is undeniable. Weight lifting is probably one of the most effective and far-reaching forms of exercise out there. However, it has to be done right if you want to reap the benefits.
That means making sure you’re taking on the right amount of weight for your body, following a trusted weight lifting program, and sticking to it for a decent amount of time. Be safe, get support from someone more experienced, and remember not to compare achievements with anyone but yourself.