Benefits of Weight Lifting – It’s not just for bulking up and building muscle mass. Weight training has tons of additional health benefits, too! All it takes is doing a weights workout just twice a week to make a huge difference to your health and fitness.
Light Weights Work
The great thing is new research shows that you don’t need to lift heavy weights to see the health benefits of weight lifting. Lightweights work just as well. The key is lifting enough time to tire out your muscles. That kind of fatigue, or failure, is what keeps your body from losing bone density and strength.
There are many health benefits to lifting weights, and exercise physiologists are finding new benefits all the time. So far, here’s what we know about how great weight lifting can be for your overall health and wellness:
- Resistance training counteracts bone loss in older adults.
- It helps control insulin swings and uses up blood sugar, which is important for preventing and managing type-2 diabetes.
- It helps control metabolic syndrome and its symptoms, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes.
- It can be an antidote to inflammation, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
- It can improve focus, memory, and attention.
- It can reduce anxiety in adolescents.
How to Start
Group Exercise (see our Verge group classes here)
- Try a group exercise class, like Les Mills BODYPUMP. This is an hour-long workout with great music and easy moves. Each routine exercises every major muscle group in your body, and they start with a warm-up and end with stretching, so you don’t injure yourself.
- It can be extra motivating to work out with an instructor and music that’s specifically timed for each routine.
Free Weights & Floor Machines
- You want to start with light weights to find your baseline level and then work up from there.
- Be sure to rest after each set and never sacrifice your form to lift weights that are too heavy. That’s almost a guaranteed recipe for injury.
- Start with a few sets of 10 repetitions each, with 30 seconds for recovery between each set.
Pay Attention to Form
- Be sure you know what to do and what not to do in terms of form, so you get the benefits of the exercise and don’t cause injury.
- If you don’t know, ask. It’s always better than hurting yourself, and nobody will ever think you are dumb.
- For most (but not all) weight-lifting exercises, it’s important to:
- keep your back straight
- keep your thigh and calf at 90-degree angles, when bending your legs
- not put undue strain on your neck
- not stick your butt out
Work with a Trainer (see a list of our expert personal trainers here)
- We at Verge and all trainers want you to ask for help or guidance. Otherwise, we’re just sitting here folding towels, wasting our years of studying exercise physiology and weight loss science.
- We love guiding people to meet their weight loss and fitness goals, and we know our gym and our equipment inside and out, so ASK!
- Even if you don’t want to book trainer sessions (and that can be a great way to start a new weightlifting regimen), grab a trainer or gym attendant to help you with free weights or floor machines. That way you learn the machines and what is going to get you results.