Just because you aren’t looking for 20 inch biceps or thunderously strong thighs doesn’t mean you should shun the weight room. Actually lifting weights gives you an edge over belly fat, stress, heart disease and cancer….not to mention it’s the single most effective way to look hot this summer!
Only one fifth of females strength train two or more times a week. Here are 12 reasons to start using those weights:
- You’ll lose 40% more fat. If you think that cardio is the only way to blast off fat…keep reading. Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups: no exercise, aerobic exercise only or aerobic exercise and weight training. All dieters lost about 21 pounds, however the weight lifters shed 6 more pounds of fat! WHY? The weight lifters loss was almost pure fat while the others lost both fat and muscle. Muscle loss may show a loss on the scale but doesn’t improve the reflection in the mirror.
- Your clothes will fit better. Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50 you’ll likely lose around 10% of your body’s total muscle. Did I mention that it will most likely be replaced with fat over time? Fact is one pound of fat takes up 18% more space than one pound of muscle.
- You’ll burn more calories. When you lift weights it increases the number of calories you burn while sitting still. The reason…after you do a strength workout, your muscles need energy to repair themselves. Research shows that when people do a total body workout with only 3 big muscle moves, metabolisms were raised for around 39 hours after. During your workout you’ll burn more calories too. Doing a circuit of 8 moves, which is around 8 minutes, you can burn 159-231 calories. To burn the same amount of calories doing cardio you would have to run at a 10 mile per hour pace for the same amount of time.
- Your diet will improve. When you workout it helps you stick to a diet plan better. University of Pittsburgh did some research with overweight adults and it showed those who didn’t workout at least 3 times per week ate more than the 1500 calories they were allotted each day. Not to mention that sneaking snacks seemed to sabotage their workouts.
- You’ll handle stress better. Scientists have shown that people who are fit showed lowered stress hormones than their less fit counterparts. Another study showed that after a stressful situation, blood pressure levels of people with more muscle returned to normal much faster than ones will less muscle.
- You’ll be happier. Research shows that people that workout at least 3 times per week for a 6 month period of time improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood.
- You’ll build stronger bones. As you age bone mass deteriorates leaving you prone to suffering a fracture. Here’s some good news-a study shows that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin, by 19%
- You’ll get into shape faster. The term cardio shouldn’t just include aerobic exercise. Circuit training with weights can raise your heart rate by 15 beats per minute, which is higher than if you ran at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. So you can save time without sacrificing your results.
- Your heart will be healthier. University of Michigan researchers found that people that did 3 total body workouts a week for 2 months, decreased their diastolic blood pressure(bottom number) by an average of 8 points. That’s enough to reduce your risk of a stroke by 40% and the chance of a heart attack by 15%.
- You’ll be way more productive. Researchers found that workers were 15% more productive on days that they exercised compared to the days they didn’t. Another perk is your less stressed if your more productive, right?
- You’ll live longer. University of South Carolina researchers determined that total body strength is linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Scientists also show that being strong during middle age is associated with “exceptional survival” which is defined as living to the age of 85 without developing a major disease.
- You’ll be even smarter. Muscles strengthen your body and mind. Brazilian researchers found that 6 months of resistance training enhanced the lifters cognitive function. Workout sessions can result in better short and long term memory, improving verbal reasoning and a longer attention span.
**Adapted from Women’s Health Magazine March 2011**