When you think of ways to get lean and reduce body fat, which types of exercise immediately spring to mind? Often we think of cardio as the sure-fire, swiftest way to shape up. But whatever your goals or objectives may be, weight training should also be an essential aspect of your fitness regime. Here we share six reasons to pick up weights and start incorporating strength training into your regular routine.
Progress can be swift and noticeable
When you’re new to weights, picking up a particularly heavy set for the first time can feel daunting and difficult. But you’ll soon find that the number you once dreaded is easy to lift – which in turn has a positive effect on your overall motivation and mindset. For this reason progress is often faster and much more noticeable when weight training is incorporated into a fitness plan.
Muscle building aids faster fat loss
Strength training has been shown in numerous studies to aid fat loss – even though cardio is often hailed as the most effective type of fat burning exercise. In truth, a combination of serious strength training and cardio is best to ensure swifter and more sustainable fat loss – coupled of course with good nutrition.
Burn extra calories each time you work out
Another advantage of having greater muscle mass is a boost to the body’s ability to burn calories. Weight training has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and fire up the body’s fat burning abilities, thanks to muscle’s capacity to consume more energy at rest than fat.
Weight training lowers insulin levels and reduces inflammation
Inflammation in the body occurs in response to injury – helping to heal wounds, build new cells and repair damaged tissue. This is generally useful – but sometimes inflammation can be unhelpful or chronic, and is a contributing factor in certain diseases such as Crohn’s and Osteoarthritis. Certain types of exercise have been known to increase inflammation in the body – impairing overall health, but also affecting the results of fitness regimes. Weight lifting by comparison has been shown to reduce inflammation over time – reducing pain, swelling and stiffness and increasing mobility and flexibility.
Boost endurance and stamina
The more time you spend weight training, the stronger you will become. This naturally increases your overall stamina, but can also positively affect your performance in other areas. For example, spending time building leg muscle through strength training will help you to run farther and faster.
Adequate sleep is very important from a holistic perspective for human beings – as without this mood, hormonal levels, appetite and even weight can be affected. Strength training has been demonstrated to improve sleep quality – which will naturally impact positively on your overall health and in particular your ability to achieve your fitness objectives. Regular exercise has been shown to lengthen the time we sleep thanks to higher levels of hormones melatonin, dopamine and serotonin in our system. This also contributes to greater energy levels, increased stamina, better mood and weight loss over time.