Weight training is not just good for your muscles and body: it’s good for your mind and emotional well-being as well. In addition to a host of physical benefits, weight training has a roster of positive influences on well-being, self-esteem, self-confidence, mood, mental clarity and decision making. Here’s a guide to some of the biggest benefits of weight training.
Fat or Muscle? Your Choice
The simple truth is that muscle helps burn fat. Weight training in particular leads to the growth of a kind of muscle fiber that speeds up your metabolism and helps burn off fat in your body including that hard-to-get-to zone: the belly. Weight training also builds up vital muscles that keep you strong and competent every day. It makes life more manageable and fun because it is no longer such a chore. You’re fit and ready for whatever the world throws at you, whether it’s a bunch of heavy grocery bags or a repair job that requires lifting a bunch of heavy plywood.
If you have been focused on trying to diet or limit how much you eat, then weight training can be the perfect solution to relax a little bit about your eating. It’s not that you should pig out on junk food, but lifting heavy weights and doing resistance training will make the odd cheat meal just fine.¹
One unfortunate part of aging is that your bones weaken and lose density. This can lead to osteoporosis and overall fragility, creating a higher risk of dangerous slip and falls and other accidents. Lifting weights—even light weights—combined with some training at the gym can help prevent osteoporosis. When your muscles get bigger your bones work to accommodate the new mass and become stronger accordingly, which is a major win for bone health.¹
Prevent Diabetes and Boost Heart Health
Another big benefit of weight training is that it helps prevent diabetes according to a well-funded study. This study found that lifting weights for just two and a half hours a week lowered the risk of diabetes by a massive 59 percent. It also helps moderate your blood sugar and keep your heart in tip-top shape. Another study found that 45 minutes of moderate intensity strength training led to a blood pressure decrease of 20%, a fantastic outcome to help prevent issues with high blood pressure.¹
Improved Mental Health
Some of the biggest benefits of weight training are not visible to the eye. These are the interior benefits and mental health improvements. Working out even just a few times per week can pay off in all sorts of deeply important ways, from feeling less irritable and depressed to enhanced energy, well-being and internal stability.
Believe it or not, rather than making you exhausted, working out often gives you a real feeling of being revitalized and increases that all-important internal conviction that you can do what needs to be done, you are good enough, you can make a difference and you are going to use your willpower and determination to make the best life you can.²
Starting Out with Weight Training
The best way to get started out with weight training is to think about how you want to train. The easiest way is to find a local gym in your area and sign up for a membership plan that works for you. If you can’t afford or don’t like the idea of going to a gym, there are a number of resistance training exercises you can do from home. You can even consider setting up a home gym if you’ve got the space and budget.
After you’ve figured this out, you can look into hiring a personal trainer, attending fitness classes at the gym, or watching YouTube videos and reading guides about the best weight training exercises to try.
Remember that slow and steady is the name of the game. You won’t gain much by suddenly trying to bench press 200 pounds except for a broken bone. Start slow and with smaller weight and build you way up: your confidence and physical health will thank you.