5 Reasons You Should Be Lifting Weights

October 9, 2012

Lifting weights doesn’t mean Arnold Schwarzenegger biceps – but it does leave you with healthier bones, faster weight loss and more energy. Here’s 5 reasons to get those barbells out now!

1. You’ll lose 40 percent more fat

If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading: When researchers at Penn State put dieters into three groups — no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training — they all lost around 10 kilos, but the lifters shed three more kilos of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.

What does this mean? If you weight train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.

2. You’re building stronger bones

As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin — a marker of bone growth — by 19 percent.

It’s easy: to offset osteoporosis, lift weight 2-3 times a week for 10 minutes a time.

3. Your heart will be healthier

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total-body weight workouts a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40 percent and the chance of a heart attack by 15 percent.

4. You’ll handle stress better

Break a sweat in the weight room and you’ll stay cool under pressure. Scientists determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit. Another study found that after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle.

5. You’ll be happier

Yoga isn’t the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise. Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood.

Do you lift weights?

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