If, like us, you spend a lot of time at your local gym, you may have noticed how there often appears to be an invisible barrier that separates the cardio section from the weights. Often, many exercisers will spend the majority of their time in one area or the other and seldom visit both. In addition, it is often the case that the cardio section is used more than the weights and so if you also consider attendees of group exercise classes into this conundrum, the trend towards cardio exercise is even more obvious.
While cardio exercise has its benefits, it’s all too easy to forget that lifting weights, strength training, resistance training or weight training (any term will do) is also very beneficial. In this article, I’ll outline why I think lifting weights is as important as cardio and exactly why you should be breaking through the cardio/weights barrier in your gym on a regular basis!
1. Increased bone mass.
Bone mass naturally declines with age, especially in women. This is partly due to reduction in the production of hormones such as testosterone, human growth hormone and estrogen and also because of lack of weight-bearing activity. Regular strength training workouts can lessen bone loss, promote an increase in bone mass and reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis – a medical condition characterized by brittle and porous bones.
2. Improved functional strength.
It’s hardly surprising that lifting weights increases the strength of your muscles but to why should you care?! Being strong will mean that everyday activities such as DIY, shopping and gardening are much less stressful as you have sufficient strength in reserve to make these demanding tasks easier. Being stronger also means that you will perform your sport of choice more effectively. By choosing exercises appropriate to your chosen sport you can increase your sports-specific performance.
3. Increased metabolic rate.
More muscle mass means a higher total daily energy expenditure. This means that it’s easier to lose weight and then maintain your weight. Building muscle, even a small amount, is a bit like putting a larger engine in your car. You’ll burn more energy not just while you workout but all the time – even while you sleep!
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