You’ve heard about all the benefits of strength training, but let’s be honest. There are a few things that may have made you wonder whether or not strength training is the right workout for you. Maybe the cost of a gym membership or hiring a personal trainer has put you off or you have a pre-existing condition that might be aggravated by the extra pressure that strength training can put on your body.
Here are a few facts about weight training that very few people are aware of. Some of them might change your mind, motivate you to incorporate it into your fitness routine and help you to improve your overall health.
1. Women’s muscles recover much faster than men’s after weightlifting
That’s because they replenish their Adenosine Triphosphate levels faster than men do. Adenosine Trisphosphate (or ATP) is a molecule that is responsible for energy metabolism. It is present in every muscle. When you deplete your ATP levels and continue to work out, your body then breaks down glycogen to obtain more of it. During this process, your body secretes lactic and hydrogen acid which causes muscle cramps. This is why muscle recovery is so important.
Women have a higher fat percentage, and this allows them to use fat as an energy source during exercise and to store it more efficiently than men during rest periods.
2. You don’t need expensive equipment to do strength training
You can use your own body weight by doing exercises such as burpees and push-ups to get the same benefits.
3. It can make you more flexible
Strong muscles support your joints. Some weight lifters struggle with flexibility, but certain weight-lifting exercises include multi-joint movements such as squats and lunges. However, it’s important to make sure that you use your full range of motion when you’re training each muscle section.
4. It helps to alleviate and prevent arthritis
It eases joint pain and stiffness. A Finnish study found that rheumatoid arthritis patients who did strength training twice a week experienced reductions in inflammation, pain and disease progression than those who only did range-of-motion exercises.
5. It helps to improve your balance, coordination and posture
You need strong muscles for good balance. One study showed that older people who did strength training reduced their risk of falling by 40%.
6. It prolongs your life
According to a 2014 UCLA study, the more muscle mass we have, the longer we live.
7. You don’t need to lift weights for hours
A period of between 30 to 60 minutes of strength training per week is all you need to reap the benefits of strength training.
8. It enhances athletic performance
This is why many athletes have incorporated it into their training routines.
9. Mental focus is equally important as the actual weight lifting
The more focussed you are during your weight training, the more muscle fibres you use.
10. Weight lifting is especially beneficial for women
Women are especially susceptible to osteoporosis. This is because their bones are thinner and their oestrogen levels decline during menopause. It’s also because of unhealthy diets and the impact of eating disorders. The constant contracting and extending movements pull on our bones, which enables them to build new cells and so increases bone density.
11. It reduces your risk of injuries
Weight training also strengthens your bones, tendons and ligaments. It increases the production of collagen, which is the most important protein that is involved in building your bones.
12. Stress limits the results of weight lifting, including muscle gains
When your body is under stress, it produces excess cortisol, which breaks down muscle.
13. Heat can help muscle growth.
This is because the shock proteins in your muscles increase when you’re exposed to heat.
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