Who Should Weight Train?
Yep, that’s right. Even more interestingly, women and the elderly—the two groups who most commonly do not lift weights are the people who could benefit from a solid weight training program the most. To help drive the point home for why everyone needs to lift heavy stuff to maintain their health, I put together a list of 12 reasons why everyone should be weight training. Let’s get into it.
1) Decrease Age-Induced Sarcopenia
- As we age, we lose muscle mass. Sarcopenia is a fancy term that means muscle loss with aging. It’s a very real problem we all face as we get older. In fact, inactive adults can lose up to 50% of muscle over the course of their lives. And menopausal women, between the ages of 40 and 50, can lose 1% of their muscle each year and replace the lost muscle with fat if they are not actively participating in a strength training program (1).
2) Better Posture
- As you build more lean muscle from weight lifting, you’ll find yourself having better posture; this can help you avoid developing back issues, such as sciatica.
3) Better Physique
- With more muscle, you’ll have an easier time staying fit and toned. This can be enormously positive not only to your physical health, but to your self-confidence as well.
4) Protects From Injury
- Building skeletal muscle supports the bones, ligaments, and tendons. Hopefully you’ll never put yourself in a situation that could cause physical injury, but if it does happen you’ll be less likely to get as banged up… not to mention your recovery will be a lot faster.
5) Helps You Perform The Activities You Like
- The added strength from weight training allows you to perform the physical activities and sports you enjoy, easier and with better performance. It can be anything from going on a hike, playing football with friends, or simply taking the groceries out of the back of your car. You’ll notice the difference quickly.
6) Improves Mood and Overall Mental State (2)
7) You’ll Sleep Better (3)
8) Increases Energy
9) Balance Hormones
- Lifting weights isn’t just for men with the goal of increasing testosterone and getting bigger muscles; it has some great benefits for women too. There have been some interesting findings showing that weight lifting is great for balancing female hormones. And with better-balanced hormones, you can expect easier weight loss and mood stabilization, too. I also want to point out that there’s a common misconception among women and weightlifting… Women often fear weight training because they don’t want to get a manly, big-muscle build. I want to put a stop to this myth right now and tell you—this just isn’t going to happen. It’s actually very difficult for women to build large muscles because they lack the necessary hormones, and the giant body builder women we see on television are either genetic anomalies or anabolic steroid users. Really, all that happens if a woman works out is increased fat burn and a more toned physique. All good things.
10) Increases Bone Density (4)
Note: This has only been found in the specific type of weight training, called HIT… More on this in a bit…
11) Helps You Live Longer
- A study from Tufts University found that as you increase your muscle, your chances of living longer also increases. They even went as far as to say that having a healthy amount of muscle mass is even more important than other biomarkers such as blood pressure or cholesterol (5)!
12) Essential For Weight Loss
- With more muscle, you have more insulin receptor sites. This allows your body to better respond and monitor your blood glucose levels, which helps the body metabolize fat more easily. All good things to keep you lean.
- Muscle is also a metabolically demanding tissue, meaning the more you have, the more calories you burn. Remember when you were a kid and you could eat whatever you wanted and never gain a pound, but it seems like the second you reached your 30s even looking at a piece of cake causes weight gain? This is because, as mentioned before, we often have less muscle as we age. If you lose 5 pounds of muscle the amount of calories you burn in a 24-hour period decreases by 250. Over time this adds up, and the result is weight gain. To prevent this from happening, you have to lift weights. The more muscle we put on, the greater our metabolic function, which results in burning more calories more easily and more quickly. This is far more efficient than running on a treadmill, which has been shown to not be an effective protocol for weight loss. In fact, new research found 75% of long distance runners neither lost or gained weight after three months of four runs per week (6).
It’s fairly clear at this point that weight training is important. But not all exercise programs are created equal. Feel free to check out the unique exercise protocol I teach called High-Intensity Training (HIT).
I hope this information inspired you to get out there and start lifting heavy stuff. Our body really does depend on it!