One area which is often overlooked as part of an exercise regimen is weight training. Some of this is due to misconceptions about weight training such as it is only for athletes or that it will add bulk. Part of this is also due to an unfamiliarity with weight training and not understanding the myriad benefits. If you are not including weight training in your fitness program it is absolutely essential that you do so if you want to achieve the best version of you possible. There are numerous reasons for including weight training in your fitness program and for the sake of simplicity I will focus on three areas.
Health – Numerous studies have underscored the cardiovascular benefits of weight training which can significantly reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by as much as 50 per cent since it helps burns calories and fat by virtue of a higher metabolism, and it also reduces blood pressure. It is proven to be effective in helping to prevent diabetes by as much one-third, and nearly two-thirds when combined with aerobic exercise. And as you tend to lose muscle mass and bone density as you age, it is effective in helping to offset these areas by strengthening the muscles and helping to reduce bone loss, including osteoporosis.
Lifestyle – By having your muscles strengthened you are better able to deal with your daily routine such as walking stairs, getting in and out of a car or a chair, or sitting at a desk for long hours. The reason for this is that as you strengthen your core muscles it enhances your ability to move with less strain and effort, which concordantly improves your balance, and makes you less susceptible to a fall, which is a leading cause of injury for many people, especially as you age.
Mental – Weight training enhances your mood and can help you deal with anxiety and depression. This is partly due to the endorphins which are released, which are mood enhancers, and the fact that you are able to better deal with challenges since you are stronger. And by looking better and having an improved self-image you will have a more positive mindset and exude confidence.
As with anything, if you are not sure what to do, ask for help and ask a personal trainer to design a program for you. Remember to start slowly, working up to multiple sets and heavier weights. Over time it will become second nature for you as you get acclimated to this new routine. And with anything, ditch the excuses and do it. You will look back and be glad you did.