4. Strength training keeps you lean.
People think of strength training as a muscle-building activity: lift weights, pack on muscle. But research is finding that it's an effective fat burner as well. Muscle tissue is the engine that drives fat loss. You want to retain as much muscle mass as possible if you're trying to get leaner. The anaerobic effects of strength training contributes to fat burning through excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This increased oxygen use elevates the metabolism, burning more calories. Additionally, the muscle remains slightly contracted after your workout, which requires a higher calorie burn. The body burns fuel to repair muscles after lifting weights, as well.
5. Strength training tones your gray matter.
Research is showing that strength workouts can prevent, slow or even reverse the progress of many cognitive ailments. Many studies have shown that weight-lifting regimens have been life-changing for those with depression. A study of identical twins showed that leg strength was the best predictor of cognitive function in middle-age adults. In other words, stronger legs made for stronger brains. Another study showed that older women develop fewer brain lesions, often an indicator of dementia, when they performed basic, twice-weekly strength training.
Scientists don't understand why and how these changes occur. It's possible that lifting weights releases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a protein that promotes neural growth. Another theory suggests that systemic changes in the metabolic and cardiovascular systems create a healthy environment where the brain thrives. In other words, the exercise benefits the brain by reducing chronic conditions that negatively impact the brain.
6, Strength training can inspire you.
People explore the limits of their abilities and have an opportunity to express intensity when they strength train. Some sessions are personal triumphs: you lift a weight you've never lifted before or you pull off a move you've never done. Personal transformations can lead to new assertiveness in the workplace or confidence in inter-personal relationships. When you try something difficult and you prevail, you have a palpable experience that translates into your life.
Sure, strength training makes you strong, but these six additional benefits create a convincing case for making weightlifting a central element in your fitness routine.
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