Do a quick search on how to lose weight and you will come across numerous articles and studies that support the idea that you need to lift weights to lose weight. Lifting weights on a regular basis appears to give a significant boost to weight loss by increasing metabolism and giving individuals who lift weights a lower risk for belly fat, cancer, heart disease and stress (and boy, we can all use less of that!).
Here are 10 Reasons You Should Lift to Lose:
1. Lifting Weights Burns More Calories
After lifting weights, studies show that your muscles continue to burn calories at rest. Yes, that means you are burning calories as you kick back and recover from a good weight lifting workout. Researchers found that individuals who worked out three large muscle areas, raised their metabolism for 39 hours afterwards. How sweet is that?!
2. Lifting Burns More Fat
Lifting weights not only burns more calories in the long run, but it also burns approximately 40% more fat than cardio workouts. Researchers find that dieters who lift weights lose primarily fat whereas those who do not lift lose fat and muscle. Dieters who do not lift weights may have better numbers on the scale (not always) but body fat measurements are much less for those who lift weights, not to mention the sculpted image in the mirror, oh la la!
3. Lifting Reduces Stress
Studies show that those who are physically fit are also more likely to be emotionally fit. Levels of stress hormones tend to be less in those who regularly pump iron and after stressful situations, those with higher muscle mass have lower blood pressures compared to those with lower muscle mass.
4. Lifting Helps Clothes Fit Better
Did you know that one pound of muscles takes up 18 percent LESS space than fat? That means that an individual with more muscle than someone with the same weight and body type will have a more slender body profile and more likely a smaller waist equating to better fitting clothes. How nice is that?!
5. Lifting Strengthens Bones
As we age, especially women, our bones will start to lose strength and we are at an increased risk for fractures and the annoying down time that none of have (not to mention the fact that those over age 50 who break their hip, have an increased risk of death within the next 5-10 years, eek!). To prevent bone loss and even build new bone, weight training is strongly recommended. Studies in postmenopausal women, who are the highest risk for decreased bone density, show that those who participated in weight training significantly increased their bone density. Increased muscle mass also improves balance and coordination in older individuals which also reduces the risk of falls and broken bones.
6. Lifting Increases Productivity
This is one your boss will like: Lifting weights and building muscle mass can increase one’s productivity. Studies show that individuals are more productive on the days they workout compared to days they did not. They were not only 15% more productive, but less stressed and typically more satisfied at their job, another bonus! So when you’re thinking another hour at work and not the gym would be more productive, think again.
7. Lifting Boosts Brain Power
A study done in Brazil found that weight lifting and resistance training boost brain function. Individuals who lift weights have better short and long-term memory, stronger attention spans and improved verbal reasoning.
7. Lifting Enhances Mood
You’ve heard of the runner’s high and zen invoking yoga but researchers have also found that weight training three times a week significantly improved scores regarding anger and happiness. Happiness is further enhanced when weight lifting improves one’s confidence and body image. WIN, WIN!
8. Lifting Increases Life Span
A study conducted at the University of South Carolina concluded that higher total body strength coincides with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Other studies found that those who focused on strength training during middle age were more likely to live until age of 85 without developing significant health conditions.
9. Lifting Improved Heart Health
Researchers have also found that heart health improves with weight training. In a study performed at the University of Michigan, individuals who did total-body weight training three times a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure by eight points which, according to scientists, translates into a reduced risk of heart attack by 15% and a reduced risk of having a stroke by 40%. Not too shabby!
So if you want to lose weight, watch what you eat but also pump that iron! Lift those weights to lose the weight! You can do it!