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Health and Fitness News

Why Weights? 

Six reasons to include strength training in your workout routine.

There are three main types of exercise: cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. It’s easy to get stuck on one kind and neglect the others. If cardio or flexibility exercises are your go-to workouts, you are likely in good shape. However, skipping the weights puts you at a disadvantage.

Because while you may feel great after running or stretching for 30 minutes, you’re missing out on valuable health and fitness benefits that only strength training offers.

Strength training (also known as resistance training or weight training) exercises are those that force your body to work against some form of resistance. This could be lifting free weights, doing bodyweight exercises, or using weight machines, medicine balls, elastic bands, or suspension equipment.

Contrary to popular opinion, lifting weights won’t turn you into a meathead or reduce your flexibility. It just gives you increased strength. Not sure strength training is for you? Here are six reasons why you should lift weights at least twice a week.

1: It Builds Strong Bones

Throughout childhood and early adulthood, the human body is busy building bone tissue. But by the age of 40, you start to lose bone mass. Besides eating a healthy diet, weight-bearing exercises are one of the best ways to prevent bone loss and increase bone density. Strong bones mean less risk for fractures and osteoporosis.

2: It Maintains Muscle Mass

As you age, you lose not only bone but muscle mass as well. In fact, people lose 8 to 10 percent of their muscle mass each decade of life. With regular strength training you can change that percentage to a loss of only 1 to 2 percent every 10 years. This is vital, as muscles support your bones and joints. With strong bones and joints, you can keep you moving with ease. Don’t think muscle loss is a big deal? Losing muscle leads to a decrease in metabolism, something that makes weight control more difficult.

3: It Increases Strength

This goes without saying. Strength training builds and strengthens your muscles. You may not care about bulking up, but you should care about having strong muscles. Maintaining muscle strength is especially important as you age. With strong muscles, simple, everyday activities remain easy, and you lessen your risk of injury.

4: It Keeps Weight Off

Like all exercise, strength training burns calories. One of the weight loss benefits of strength training is its ability to boost your metabolism. With weight lifting, you burn calories during your workout and thanks to an improved resting metabolism, you continue burning calories throughout the day, even when you’re not working out. This increases your overall calorie burn and aids in weight loss.

5: It Improves Body Mechanics

Coordination, balance, and posture are all a part of body mechanics. Without proper body mechanics, you’re more likely to suffer falls, injuries, and general aches and pains. Older people can reduce their risk of falling by up to 40 percent with regular strength training. The stronger your muscles, the better your body mechanics will be and the longer you’ll be able to remain independent.

6: It Helps Manage Chronic Disease

Ward off or help control chronic health conditions with strength training. The symptoms of health conditions such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart disease can all be relieved with strength training. In some cases, exercise is as effective as medication at pain relief, lowering blood pressure, regulating blood sugar, and improving mood.