When you think of weights, you probably think of bulking up and putting on muscle, but muscle growth isn’t the only thing that can come out of lifting those dumbbells! There are many benefits that are important to keep in mind as the new year approaches – it may just help freshen your outlook on the new year.
If you're a fitness newbie, you may be wondering what what weight training exactly involves. Weight training uses free weights like dumbbells and barbells, and gym machines, that helps you to build strength and gain lean muscle tissue. It's a form of resistance training that can give you many benefits aside from the fit, toned look!
1. Achieve a healthy metabolism
Muscle is metabolically active - this means that when you have more muscle, your body needs more fuel (food) to keep yourself going. While this doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want, however much you want, it certainly means you can eat more calories throughout the day! This is especially important when trying to lose weight - you're trying to lose fat, and you'll need to go into a calorie deficit. The problem is, you may have to bring those calories quite low to get the result you're after - this is where having extra muscle comes in handy! If you can diet on more food, then you are more likely to stick to your plan, and you'll be doing it in a much healthier way. In addition, metabolism slows as you age, so you'll want to hold onto as much muscle as possible!
2. Maintain bone and muscle as you age
It's an unfortunate fact of life that muscle and bone deteriorate as you get older. Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass, begins to happen from around age 30, with a rate of approximately 10% percent per decade! If that isn't worrying enough, the loss accelerates after you hit 50. The main treatment for sarcopenia is - you guessed it, weight training! By giving your muscles and bones the stimulus they need to grow, you will be promoting longevity for yourself.
Along with muscle loss, the risk of osteoporosis also increases as you get older. Help to maintain your bone density, with a weight training routine that challenges you. Osteoporosis Australia recognises regular physical activity and exercise as having an important role in maintaining bone health. When you commit to regular resistance training (at least 2-3 times per week), you can improve or maintain your bone density, and offset bone loss that happens with age.
3. Help prevent injury
Protect your future with strength training! Risk of falls is a serious problem as you get into your wiser years. By working on your strength, you will be able to pick yourself up off the floor much easier than if you did no training at all. Not to mention, certain exercises can help bolster your sense of balance so that you're more steady in the first place - older people are more likely to fall because of both muscle weakness and a lack of balance. By committing to regular exercise, you'll also have a way to speed up rehabilitation in the case that you suffer a fracture.
4. Feel greater self confidence and mental strength
As the new year approaches, you're not alone if you feel like you could use a boost of self-esteem! 2020 has been a tough year for many, and what better way to start fresh then by building some confidence in the gym. Weight training can help you feel strong not just physically, but mentally as well. As you see you can start to lift heavier weights, you'll feel great in your body and have a sense of confidence that will carry you through the day.
When you start the year feeling great about yourself, you're more likely to set inspiring goals that you feel like you can achieve. Give yourself the power of a new start by lifting those weights!
5. Support a healthy mood!
Better sleep, clearer thinking and a natural mood boost are all on the agenda when you start weight training - the best part about it, is it's drug-free! By challenging yourself, your body releases those feel-good endorphins that can keep you coming back for more. As you devote yourself to your training regime, you'll notice your problem solving ability may be improved, and you'll sleep more soundly at night. Not only will you be in shape, but you'll feel great from within too!
Products to get you started:
Lichtenberg T, von Stengel S, Sieber C, Kemmler W. The Favorable Effects of a High-Intensity Resistance Training on Sarcopenia in Older Community-Dwelling Men with Osteosarcopenia: The Randomized Controlled FrOST Study. Clin Interv Aging. 2019;14:2173-2186. Published 2019 Dec 16. doi:10.2147/CIA.S225618
Giallauria F, Cittadini A, Smart NA, Vigorito C. Resistance training and sarcopenia. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 2016 Jun 22;84(1-2):738. doi: 10.4081/monaldi.2015.738. PMID: 27374049.
Sousa N, Mendes R, Monteiro G, Abrantes C. Progressive resistance strength training and the related injuries in older adults: the susceptibility of the shoulder. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2014 Jun;26(3):235-40. doi: 10.1007/s40520-013-0157-z. Epub 2013 Oct 25. PMID: 24158788.