Running is a great way to stay fit but as national guidelines state, your body needs a lot more than aerobic activity. Here are five health benefits of making weightlifting a part of your workout routine.
1. Injury prevention
Weight training is one of the most effective ways to build muscles mass and increase bone density. These effects become very important as one gets older since we are prone to a natural decline by the time we reach the age of 40.
Given the trends in osteoporosis statistics, it is important to build stronger bones in order to reduce the risk of fractures. Strengthening your muscles, on the other hand, can help by supporting the joints. This is why runners who skip on strength training activities can end up injuring their knees and other body parts.
2. Healthier heart
A recent study from Iowa State University made a strong case for spending less than an hour on weightlifting each week. Though it does not seem like much, the routine could reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent, researchers stated.
Such activities might actually boost your cardiovascular health better than running, according to scientists. But for optimal physical fitness, national guidelines recommended you perform both types of exercise i.e. strength training and aerobic activity.
3. Burn calories
Technically, a cardio session does burn more calories than a weightlifting session. But the latter helps build muscle which means you get to burn calories even while at rest. Following a high-intensity lifting session, this is known as the afterburn effect.
“Muscle is metabolically active, meaning that the more of it you have on your body the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day even when you’re not exercising,” said Nick Clayton, personal training program manager at the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
4. Diabetes management
People who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should particularly include weight training or some form of strength exercises in their routine. Experts note toning your muscles can make quite the difference in controlling blood glucose levels.
“A lot of the resistance training actually improves insulin sensitivity,” said Dawn Sherr, a certified diabetes educator with the American Association of Diabetes Educators. “Your blood sugar may not be as elevated if you develop more muscles.”
5. Mental wellbeing
While the mental health benefits of aerobic exercise are well-known, the literature shows lifting weights can also lift your spirits. According to a meta-analysis published in 2017, weightlifting is linked to a significant reduction in anxiety.
People who have depression may also experience some relief by taking up this form of training. One factor to note is the instant change you can feel in your body after lifting compared to activities like running. For some people, this can be a powerful boost in terms of motivation and self-confidence.