Benefits of Lifting Weights
Lifting weights to lose weight...
Unfortunately though, lifting weights to lose weight isn't something that most people consider simply because of the myths surrounding this form of exercise. Weight training (also known as resistance training or lifting weights) offers so many health benefits as well the obvious cosmetic benefits, making it the most under-estimated form of exercise!
There are many commonly held beliefs about weight training that are simply incorrect. Becoming 'muscle-bound', losing flexibility, bulking up, looking like a man and growing facial hair are just a few of myths associated with lifting weights.
Some of the even more commonly-held but incorrect beliefs include: 'children shouldn't lift weights because it stunts their growth' and 'you shouldn't perform intense exercise as you get older'. These are simply not true but the vast majority of people believe them!
Despite these incorrect beliefs that are held by many, there are many benefits of lifting weights that make it one of the best forms of exercise for people of all ages to help them lose weight, stay in shape as well as improve their body functioning and sports performance.
Lifting weights to lose weight is such an important part of your weight-loss program and this article will explain the reasons why.
Probably the biggest benefit of lifting weights to lose weight is the fact that it preserves your muscle mass as your body weight decreases. When most people want to lose weight they will incorporate a variety of nutritional principles, aerobic exercise and supplements into their weight-loss program. However, rarely will they use weight training.
The problem with not performing regular weight training workouts when you want to lose weight is the fact that your body will indiscriminately lose both fat and muscle tissue. A loss of muscle has a direct impact on your metabolic rate because muscle is one of the most 'metabolically-active' (this means it burns up the most energy) tissues in the body.
For example, if a person wants to lose 10 kilograms by following a weight loss program and the program doesn't include any weight training, then up to half of the weight they lose will come from muscle tissue, i.e. they may lose 5 kilograms from fat and 5 kilograms from muscle! Not only will this affect their metabolism but it will also affect their ability to continually lose weight!
However, just a few 20-30 minute weight training sessions each week are all that is needed to minimise the muscle loss and therefore keep your metabolism elevated. This means that if you lose 10 kilograms (as in the previous example), you may lose 9 kilograms of fat and only 1 kilogram of muscle. You still tend to lose some muscle; it's inevitable, but the weight training 'forces' your body to preserve its muscle mass and preferentially lose other tissues (mainly fat).
To take this one step further, if you increase your muscle mass through exercise and lifting weights, you will also have an increase in your metabolic rate (as long as you maintain the new muscle mass), which will further contribute to your overall calorie/ energy expenditure and therefore assist your weight loss efforts.
Keep in mind though that if you are following a Weight Loss Nutritional Plan, as you should do if you want to lose weight then it is highly unlikely that you will increase your muscle mass at all.
The exceptions are of course beginners (beginners tend to build muscle even in a calorie deficient state perhaps because it is such a shock to the body) and someone who dramatically changes the macronutrient profile of their meals, i.e. more protein and less carbs (people with a low protein intake who then change to a higher proportion of protein compared to carbs also gain more muscle and less fat).
There are numerous other benefits of lifting weights in addition to its ability to promote fat burning and weight loss. These other benefits were demonstrated by researchers at Tufts University (as well as many other tertiary institutions since then).
The researchers were studying 'biomarkers', which are the major symptoms of biological ageing. The results of their research were quite remarkable. They found that lifting weights could help to reverse the typical signs of biological ageing.
Blood sugar tolerance
Basal metabolic rate
Body temperature regulation
Cholesterol/ HDL ratio
It is also beneficial because it keep your metabolic rate elevated for some time post-exercise as well, which means your overall daily calorie expenditure is increased even further.
The number of post-exercise calories that are burned up is determined primarily by the intensity (how hard) and the duration (how long) of the exercise.
Overall, exercise and lifting weights are essential components of any weight loss program and the benefits of lifting weights to lose weight cannot be over-emphasised.
Also, here is a video that covers the benefits women can obtain from lifting weights:
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