7 Reasons Why You Should Weightlift
It’s an ingrained concept in many of us: women should not lift weights, as pumping iron is designed for men who want the bulked up and chiseled muscle look.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that only around 20% of women practice weightlifting.
It’s time to rid of this misconception once and for all.
Weightlifting is for everyone – the on-the-go mom, the startup owner, the working dad – it will not only help you lose weight, but it can also bring about the total mind and body transformation as well!
Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, Director of Human Performance Lab at Lehman College, mentions that he has observed countless transformations from regimented resistance training, which involve not only a person’s physique but also the emotional and mental state as well.
Experts say that resistance training is not solely about building muscle mass. It can actually improve posture, help you sleep better, maintain weight loss and boost metabolism, to name a few.
7 Reasons Why You Should Do Weightlifting Now
Here are definitive reasons why weightlifting should be a part of your lifestyle:
- Maintains muscles mass
This might sound like a given, but resistance training does work wonders for your muscles. But that’s not really the point we’re trying to explain here, rather, the importance of keeping your muscles strong is crucial especially as you age.
According to the American Council on Exercise, most adults lose about half a pound of muscle per year by the time they reach 30 years old.
Losing muscle, compounded by a slower metabolism, is a recipe for weight gain and health risks associated with it.
Regular weightlifting can help prevent loss of muscle mass and maintain a trim and healthy body.
- Increases bone density
Aside from muscles, weightlifting is also beneficial for your bone health. As you age, you also start to lose bone density bit by bit per year.
For women especially, losing bone mass is quite a problem as it can lead to osteoporosis. In fact, 80% of osteoporosis cases are women!
Weightlifting creates a force on the bone and helps it stay active and strong.
Dr. Schoenfeld explains that this type of challenge on your bones can encourage it to adapt to the weight and get stronger.
In one study, a year of regular weightlifting helped older, injury-risk participants to significantly reduce the rate of falls.
Participants, aged over 70 years old, displayed improved ankle strength and balance.
With weightlifting, you cantrain your bones to be sturdier, preventing fractures and bone-related diseases.
- Boosts metabolism and fat loss
Weight training builds muscle, and as you increase your lean muscle, you stimulate metabolism in the process.
Studies found that the average woman who pumps iron at least 2-3 times per week can gain 2 lbs. of muscle and lose 3.5 lbs. of fat.
Yes, cardio and other aerobic exercises usually burn fat faster, but sometimes you’ll hit a plateau immediately with these type of fitness routines.
With weightlifting, you get sort of a slower burn type of impact that can really add up to significant weight loss if done regularly for months. In fact, your metabolism can still be high even after 24 hours post-workout.
- Increases strength (without the bulk!)
One big misconception about weightlifting is that it always leads to a bulky physique.
Women, take note: this is physically impossible! You don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men.
What the exercise brings are muscle definition and added strength.
In terms of strength, studies show that a moderate weight training program can increase a woman’s strength by as much as 30-50%!
That extra strength can make you ready to accomplish different activities daily, like lifting groceries, carrying your kids, or moving stuff about.
- Improves posture
Weightlifting involves a lot of work on the back, shoulders and core areas, and if done regularly, it can help correct a slumped posture.
You can stand taller and straighter, and prevent numerous chronic back problems later on.
Along with the physical changes, an improved posture can also give you a confidence boost. With weightlifting, you know that you are stronger, tougher and ready as can be to face life’s daily challenges.
- Lifts stress away
While the available research on the effects of exercise on mood center on aerobic routines, studies also suggest that resistance training can also be effective in helping people release stress and anxiety.
This may be due to the fact that weights involve power movements – individuals can channel their stress into the weights, and gain something that could be symbolic to overcoming a challenge.
- Helps you get a good night’s sleep
As with many workouts, resistance training can be a natural remedy for any sleep problems. As you engage in something active that stabilizes your hormones, you encourage proper sleep rhythm for your body clock.
One study showed that elderly people who practiced moderate level weightlifting reported better sleep quality compared to participants who stayed sedentary.
However, do take note of your exercise timing; intense weightlifting did a few hours before bedtime may produce the opposite effect and disrupt your sleep.
How Much Weight Should You Lift?
Whatever age you are, there are really no prescriptions or restrictions when it comes to the amount of weight you use. This will depend on how intense you want your workout to be, how much experience you have with lifting weights, and where you are on your fitness level.
The key is to lift enough weight so that the resistance feels really tough (but not painful) and you struggle for each repetition.
If you want fewer repetitions, use a heavier weight. But if you’re planning to do a lot of reps, you can opt for a lighter set even if you will do the same movements using the heavier one.
Never, ever lift too much that you end up in pain. Feeling challenged is not the same as feeling hurt, so be careful about overdoing it. It would be recommended that you work out with a trainer first so that you learn the basics and get the hang of weightlifting.