What are the benefits of lifting weights?
Remember when people thought that weight training was just for aspiring bodybuilders?
It’s enjoyed quite the glow-up recently and now people from all walks of life are incorporating it into their training schedules. No longer are they afraid of the dreaded ‘bulk’.
We asked personal trainer Gabrielle Petterwood why everyone should be doing this type of training and what are the potential benefits of lifting weights.
“Weightlifting was associated with certain types of muscle-sculpting,” she says, “But it’s actually a much more holistic exercise.”
Let’s dive in further to explore the benefits of weight training.
Weightlifting builds muscle (obviously)
Apart from the obvious aesthetic benefit to building muscle, Gabrielle explains in really general and basic terms: muscle supports our skeletal system and without it, your movement may be limited.
When you build muscle, it assists with everyday activities – such as playing with your kids or washing your car. So, the stronger your muscles are, the more supported your body will be when moving through life.
Weightlifting helps maintain bone density
Another (lesser known) benefit of weight training is it may help to maintain bone density as we get older. When our bodies age, bone density naturally decreases.
When we continue lifting weights or doing weight-bearing activities, we apply stress on the bone, which encourages them to strengthen.
So, weight training could actually make your bones stronger. Fitness goals right there.
Weightlifting powers up your body
Basically, the more muscle tissue you have, the more energy your body requires to maintain everyday function.
“Lifting weights generates a higher metabolism or requirement of energy. So, the more muscles you have, the more energy you’re going to burn,” says Gabrielle.
Weightlifting increases flexibility
Are you still wondering why you should lift weights? How does increasing your flexibility sound?
Gabrielle says, “Imagine that you're doing a squat, adding weight (like a barbell) is going to push you further into that squat. So, you're moving the joint through a wider range of motion as well.”
That increased mobility in your ligaments may help improve joint health as well.
“This is important, especially as we get older, and especially now that we're all working from home,” she says.
Weightlifting feels good
When it comes to weight training for beginners, Gabrielle points out that we shouldn’t underestimate the value of how good building strength feels.
“There's a mental aspect of weight training as well, getting stronger can be a great confidence boost,” Gabrielle explains.
She believes that because effective weight training leads to being able to track your progress in a measurable way – like increasing your weight – it may help people appreciate their achievements.
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Gabrielle Petterwood is a Personal Trainer with a holistic approach to fitness, nourishing the body with fresh foods and living a healthy and balanced lifestyle to realise full body health.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board September 2021.