Five SHOCKING Benefits of Resistance Training that Have Nothing to Do with Muscle-Building
Most women opt for cardiovascular exercises in the gym rather than hitting the weights section out of fear of ‘bulking up’ or looking too manly. This is practically impossible due to the female hormone estrogen which prevents muscles from getting bigger, and instead, you get a strong, feminine body from resistance training. What’s more, people who lift weights experience less muscle loss in comparison to their inactive counterparts over the decades and even increase their resting metabolism by 7% – which means more fat is burning – yay!
If you still need more motivation to get your recommended 2 sessions of weight training per week, a new research is showing that pumping iron doesn’t just get you a toned body, it has plenty of psychological benefits too. It was found that lifting weights was just as good for mental health and well-being as some of the most renowned forms of yoga.
Here are five more benefits of lifting weights that go beyond gaining physical strength.
A Boost in Self-Esteem
Resistance training is as much of a mental exercise as it is a physical one. As you get stronger with time and progress from a novice to a master, your self-esteem grows with you. Researchers say that people who felt stronger and more confident in the gym are able to translate their confidence into their personal and professional life as well.
People who are overweight can also benefit from resistance training since it gives them the perception of increasing strength even with no visible signs of muscle gain. Interestingly, it is the inner feeling of strength, rather than outward appearance, that gives people a boost in self-esteem.
People who perform aerobic exercises such as running, jogging or walking don’t see progress quickly. In fact, it can take weeks and even months, depending on the intensity of the exercise, to notice that your thighs are getting slimmer. The delayed gratification can often demotivate people and put them off the idea of working out, which is one of the reasons why people can’t stick to cardiovascular exercises (other than the fact that they are so boring!).
Strength training, on the other hand, gives instant gratification, and you can notice a firmness in your muscles after only a couple of workout sessions. Go flex in front of the mirror and see for yourself.
Your Brain Gets Swol
Research shows that weight lifters don’t just pump iron into their muscles, but they also boost their cognitive strength in comparison to those who stick to aerobic exercises. In a recent study, 80 people over the age of 40 were divided into two different groups, with one group performing strength exercises and the other, cardiovascular exercises. At the end of the three-month program people who were lifting weights were more adept in practical skills than the cardio group.
You’ll Feel More Competent
Anyone can walk on a treadmill or cycle on static bikes. The real skill is shown by those who know how to work with the free weights and the complex machines in the gym – with proper form and technique, of course. For people who have never touched the barbell, doing even 5 reps of squats with light weights can give them a sense of accomplishment that they won’t get from aerobic exercises.
Personal trainers say that most of their inexperienced clients who want to start lifting weights go through moments of self-doubt where they think that they can’t really perform a certain exercise – until they actually do and are surprised by their own capabilities.
You’ll Forget About Your Worries
Resistance training requires a great deal of physical strength and mental focus, which is why you probably won’t even think about the stressful day you had at work while you’re struggling through the final few reps. Moreover, according to the theory of mind-muscle connection, people are able to engage the muscle they’re working on even more, by simply putting all their mental and physical focus on it.
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