Whether your focus is to put on muscle, lose weight, or just be healthy, we should all have a goal to spend time lifting weights in the new year. There are a host of other benefits aside from just looking good when it comes to resistance training which I’d like to cover today.
The more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. We all wish we could eat MORE calories and get away with it right? This alone should motivate you to want to add more resistance training! You don’t need to pack on bodybuilder amounts of muscle. Any muscles added on will add increases to your overall output.
If we include proper resistance training into our lives, we increase our longevity. By practicing exercises in a full range of motion, you are training your body to handle heavier loads throughout that entire range. When we get injured, it is usually due to a weakness in the body, or moving with improper form causing a strain or tear we wish we didn’t have. Including weightlifting can help minimize the amount of injuries you get. When we get older, we especially increase our risk of injury. When someone falls, the damage is based on the person’s inability to take the fall due to lack of muscle or low bone density causing a fracture.
Exercise of all forms helps increase BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). That is Miracle-Gro for the brain which helps your cognitive abilities. Heavy lifting will also help your proprioception; that is having the awareness of your body within a given space. By focusing on heavy lifting, you are strengthening your bones and CNS, which allows you to better absorb the impact of injury, or avoid the injury altogether.
Lifting weights can boost your serotonin and dopamine. For men, they can get a 15-25% increase in their testosterone from resistance training, and for women it balances out their progesterone and estrogen levels. There isn’t any other supplement or activity out there that not only provides these benefits, but keeps these levels consistent once you’ve been sticking to a regimen and adding strength. Pills and medicines disappear the moment you stop taking them. Because we get that boost in serotonin and dopamine, you are helping lower the incidence of depression.
Ability to Fight Illness
Insulin, and diabetes is a major issue in today’s world. Most of us struggle to handle our food intake. When you have more muscle, you are increasing the sensitivity your body has to properly utilizing sugars and carbohydrates. Our body gets efficient by using them for fuel rather than shooting our blood sugar levels up and keeping them elevated. Carbohydrates and fats are fuel sources. Your body needs to be expending energy and giving you a good reason to be able to ingest and know what and where to put these macronutrients. If all you do is sit around all day, then your body has no use for this excessive intake of calories. Focus on building a body that allows you to not only get away with higher calorie days, but the simple habit of exercising will make you want to make healthier eating choices overall.
If you want more detailed help on how to go about lifting weights properly, be sure to check out my articles on Prioritizing Lifting Weights Over Cardio and Lifting Weights – What You Should Know If You Are a Beginner.