The cold, dark months of the winter are a great time to get back into the gym and do some weight training. When we talk about weight training, a lot of people imagine throwing around big weights and building lots of muscle. But this image is a bit out dated. In fact, there are types of weight training for all ages, body types and experience levels. Weight training, also called resistance training, has been shown to have numerous benefits for both sport and life. Read on to learn about a few!
#1 – Increased Strength and Injury Resilience
This is the obvious one. The more you do resistance training, the stronger you get! The purpose of weight lifting should not just be so you can lift bigger weights at the gym, but also so that you get through your day more easily and safely. If you need to lift a couch to get the remote from under it, you can. These daily, functional movement don’t just utilize the strength building aspect of weight training, but also the physical techniques. The proper form and biomechanics you cultivate through a weight training program can (and should) be applied to your everyday movements. Increased tension on the joints, soft tissues and bones helps them to become stronger and more tolerant to loading. The stronger you are, and the better mechanics you have and the more injury resilient you will be, both on and off the field. Ultimately, it keeps you doing the things you love to do!
#2 – Mood, Confidence and Self Esteem Boost
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a documented mental disorder that most commonly occurs in the long winter months of limited sunlight, movement and lethargy. Resistance training has been shown to release the feel-good chemicals, endorphins, in your brain that help to improve your mood. Along with the mood, adding a strength training routine can help to relieve stress and actually help you sleep better at night, which allows you to wake up feeling more rested and ready to take on the day.
Another inevitable consequence of a resistance training program is all around better confidence and self-esteem. As you build more muscle and strength, you also build capability and a sense of competence, which translates into your everyday life. Hitting the weights also has anti-aging benefits. Not only does building lean muscle decrease the risk of age-related muscle loss, it is also awesome for your heart health. As an added bonus, building more lean muscle and carrying yourself with more confidence, helps when you look in the mirror as well!
#3 – Metabolic Improvements
Lean muscle needs more calories throughout the day, so the more lean muscle you can put on, the more calories you will burn throughout the day, even when you are not moving! This is called your resting metabolism, and keeping this at a good level is vital for proper health. Lifting weights can also help to stabilize and maintain your blood sugar levels, helping to stave off the threat of diabetes. Weight training has also been shown to decrease bad cholesterol, as well as reducing hypertension and the risk of heart disease.
Beginning a strength training program can seem intimidating, and if that is the case, ask your local gym about a good personal trainer to get you off the ground. When you are starting any new exercise program, start slow, really concentrate on form, and make sure to listen to the signals your body is giving you. Remember, the hard part is getting started, but getting into a strength routine has numerous benefits, both physically and mentally!