Cardio is the most popular form of exercise people do when they are trying to lose weight and improve their health and fitness.
But weight training can be equally beneficial if not more. Especially when it comes to boosting your metabolism and burning fat.
It is not to say cardio is not important for weight loss because it is. But if you want to change your body and make improvements in your overall health and fitness, consider adding weight training to your fitness regimen.
In this article, I will discuss 7 ways that weight training can actually benefit your health.
1. Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Weight training is one of the fastest, most effective ways to lose body fat and improve muscle tone.
When you lose weight through dieting alone or together with some aerobic exercise (such as walking, running, biking or swimming), you lose muscles along with fat.
This can be quite problematic. That’s because when you lose muscles, your metabolism slows down ending up burning fewer calories overall. This, of course, goes against the law of weight loss and calories, and can potentially cause a plateau or weight gain.
By adding weight training to the mix, you can maintain or boost your metabolism (1).
Although weight training is no magic bullet for weight loss, many obesity, and weight loss experts consider it to be an essential part of any weight-control program.
2. Boost Your Energy
Forget those highly caffeinated dietary energy supplements that promise to keep you energized all day long.
One of the best energy boosters comes not in a bottle but on a weight rack.
When you lift weights, you’d feel a boost of energy. That’s because strength training helps with circulation and pumps out more blood to the heart muscles, giving you more energy flows overall.
3. Increase Your Strength
Lifting heavier weights may not be your primary goal in life, but that doesn’t mean that an increase in strength can’t help.
The extra strength you’ve earned from lifting weights in the gym can mean an easier time moving around your recycle bins, living room furniture, and carrying your tots.
You’ll also have a less chance of getting injured from handling heavy items.
4. Improving Your Heart Health
Heart health is not just a matter of healthy eating.
Exercise whether it's cardio or weight lifting can help improve your heart health tremendously by lowering the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
It was previously believed that cardio is what can lower the risk of heart issues, but a recent study discovered that weight lifting too can benefit your heart by bringing down the bad LDL cholesterol (2).
5. Keep Your Bones Strong and Healthy
Did you know that women may lose as much as 20% of their bone density within 7 years after their menopause? (3).
For some, they experience bone loss even quicker.
Men are also susceptible to brittle bones, too.
But thankfully, that’s where weight lifting can help.
Research finds that lifting weights can drastically slow the speed of your bone loss and prevents your back from hunching over as aging progresses (4).
This is also accompanied by a relatively lower risk of getting serious fractures, which can impair your mobility.
The great thing is you can start strengthening now for your bone health later.
It’s never too early or too late to start building bone density and developing the foundation of your bone health.
6. Boost Your Metabolism
This could potentially be the most appreciated benefit of weight training.
Besides weight training can tone your body up, it can contribute greatly to improving your resting metabolic rate, which then helps increase your calorie burning at rest (5).
With a higher metabolism, your body will turn to a calorie burning furnace, burning more calories even at rest, leaving you far less for storage.
This is the most effective way to lose weight and burn fat without putting more efforts into your weight and fat loss.
7. Sleep Better at Night
While most sleep remedies like aromatherapy, herbal tea, and meditation soundtrack can work well for a night, very few things are actually effective for the long term and help you get better sleep night after night.
And that is weight training.
And according to Appalachian State University research, weight training not only helps you sleep more deeply but fall asleep faster. What they found from participants’ sleep behaviors is that those who workout in the morning can fall asleep 45 minutes faster than those who don’t (6).
That’s a big difference, worth enough to take half an hour before you jump into the shower to get your weight lifting session in.
Take Home Message
Weight training used to be done mostly for the muscle building purposes.
And that’s a shame.
That’s because benefits of lifting weights are well-beyond the aesthetics it helps to build. It helps improve everything from your heart health to metabolism, bone density to better sleep.
If you haven’t incorporated weight training into your regular workout routines, here are some of the beginners’ friendly workout plans to get started.