Lifting weights doesn’t just have to be about growing bigger muscles. As our learning of the human body gets better, and the research dives deeper and deeper into the research, we’re realizing there are more and more aspects of lifting that benefit the body as a whole.
Added Muscle / Fat Loss
Aesthetically these may be nice things. But lowering your body fat allows for better blood markers overall. Having muscle mass prevents injury, strengthens joints and connective tissues, and allows you to take on the daily tasks of life with much less risk. Everyone needs to incorporate some regimen of resistance training to enhance their quality of life over the long term.
Chronic injuries are a huge problem for most of us these days. We spend all day sitting, hunched over causing our muscles to atrophy. Working our weaker muscles through a full range of motion, and under load more specifically, allows us to strengthen and open up these dormant muscles and bring back proper movement patterns we’ve lost throughout the years.
Now we get into the more exciting stuff. When you workout, your brain develops better memory recall, increases your ability to learn, and clears your mind. It has been shown when people exercise there is an increase in BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which increases your ability to learn new things. It also teaches your mind a certain adaptability to change by challenging it under stress.
Behavior and Mood
Research has shown adding resistance training has been shown to be as effective as some medicine in lowering mild to moderate forms of depression. It may increase the dopamine, epinephrine, serotonin and all the other feel good hormones. When you are depressed the science shows your hippocampus (responsible for emotion) shrinks. Lifting weights will help grow the hippocampus which allows for a better mood overall.
When you have more muscle on your body, and less fat, your body is better able to utilize nutrients. You become more insulin sensitive, handling carbs more efficiently as fuel, rather than keeping your blood sugar elevated. Fat can also be better used for fuel. Your bones become dense and strong through the added resistance that is placed on them repeatedly preventing osteoporosis. A healthy, fit person always heals quicker than an unhealthy one.
When you resistance train, you give yourself the ability to gain more muscle. Having more muscle on your frame means your body burns more calories at rest. This means having a faster metabolism, and more energy. A good workout leaves you feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle your day. An overly intense one leaves you exhausted.