Weight Training Builds More Muscle
Strength training can involve an extensive range of motion and simultaneously stimulate muscle growth in areas you aren’t directly training. While it’s possible to build muscle with just bodyweight, the more weight you use, the more stress your muscles will be placed under, and the harder they’ll work and the faster they’ll grow. The whole-body muscle-building that strength training provides cannot be replicated by running or simply turning up the spin bike’s resistance. Multi-joint compound movements are specifically designed to promote growth by recruiting more muscle groups.
Weight Training Supports Anti-ageing
Consistent resistance training is the best way to avoid the range of preventative health issues that we face as we age. The general loss of muscle mass and bone density makes us more susceptible to weight gain and injuries. Continuing to weight train as we age can combat adverse health risks like metabolic disorders, diabetes and hypertension.
Weight Training Has Greater Longevity
With so many options available, weightlifting is not a workout you’ll have to sacrifice with age. Unlike specific high-impact cardio exercises, you can lift weights indefinitely by simply modifying the load to suit your needs and abilities. In addition to maintaining good muscle health, strength training also keeps our motor skills sharp and our joints mobile.
Weight Training Increases Mobility
The variety and range of motion associated with resistance training are far superior to that of cardio. When performed correctly, lifting weights can increase your mobility while simultaneously correcting muscular imbalances within the body. Strength training sets the foundation for proper movement mechanics, many of which are then engaged during cardio-based exercises (e.g., lunge mechanics are the foundation of running).
++Weight Training Enhances Fat Loss++
Lifting weights engage the largest muscle groups and involves multiple joints, which makes the body work harder. This results in the ‘after-burn effect’. By increasing muscle size and after-burn post-exercise, strength training boosts the number of calories we burn at rest. This, in combination with a healthy diet, encourages the loss of excess body fat.
Weight Training Reduces Stress
Multiple studies have found significantly decreased cortisol levels in people after weight training for just two weeks! Mindfulness is also at play while lifting weights, as the intensity and focus of functional movements demand your full attention. Increasing weight and ticking off goals, big or small, does wonders for our mental health and reduces our overall stress.
Weight Training Gives an Aesthetic Edge
Weight training gives you developmental and aesthetic control of your body; goal size, symmetry and proportion are entirely individual. Resistance training helps tone muscles to give a more defined look; the more muscle mass you have, the less body fat you have. Even if you don’t want to be ripped, lifting weights will more than likely help you to achieve your aesthetic body goals.
Weight Training Reduces the Risk of Injury
Weight training builds muscle, strengthens the body, improves mobility and corrects imbalances, all of which ultimately result in a lower risk of injury. The joint protection and insulation that strength training provide extend beyond the gym and into our daily functional movements, i.e., gardening, taking out the trash or loading the dishwasher.
Weight Training Burns More Calories Overall
A benefit of cardio is that you’ll burn more calories during your workout (emphasis on during). Weight training, however, keeps that slow burn going all day long, resulting in a larger, more sustained calorie burn. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so weight training = lean muscle mass = higher metabolic rate = more calories burned.
Weight Training Boosts Energy and Mood
Studies show that people who lift weights get a mood boost regardless of their health status, how often they train, or their training intensity. Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t include that lifting heavy things (particularly when that weight was previously out of your ability or comfort zone) makes you feel like a boss!
Weight Training Improves Posture
Bad posture is primarily due to muscle imbalances and weakness. We develop these imbalances through everyday activities like sitting on long commutes, spending hours at a desk, and hunching over our mobile phones and computers. Proper lifting technique requires total body awareness that translates into improved posture even without the weights. Repetitive cardio won’t correct or improve posture at all!
Weight Training Enhances Sleep Quality
Research has shown that just one strength training session can lead to a better night’s sleep across various age groups. Why? Weight training can be incredibly taxing on your muscles, and the drop in cortisol results in a prolonged, deeper sleep.
Weight Training Reduces Anxiety
Even partaking in low to moderate-intensity weight training can cause a significant reduction in anxiety levels and symptoms. Research is so conclusive that clinical treatments for anxiety include low-intensity strength training! People without a physical or mental illness reported an even more significant boost from the workouts, so it’s a win-win.
Weight Training Strengthens Your Bones
Weight-bearing exercises promote good bone health. Unfortunately, spending hours sedentary at desks or travelling works against strengthening our bones and makes us more prone to injury. Weight training increases our bone density which can help prevent osteoporosis, breaks and fractures.
Lifting weights doesn’t just boost your mental and physical fitness but also gives your body the ability to perform at its optimum. It can be low impact and has an enormous range of options, making it accessible to everyone. Regardless of whether you have access to a gym or a 2L bottle of laundry detergent, any resistance is good resistance.
Whilst cardio has a place within your fitness schedule, strength training offers a more holistic workout, and honestly, it can be a lot more fun!
The fact that you can get your cardio fix from lifting weights (higher intensity with shorter rest periods) makes a strong case for swapping out some running and cycling sessions in favour of the weight rack or a strength HIIT session.
So, rack ’em, stack ’em and get lifting.