Ask the average person to design an effective fitness plan and a lot of them will immediately go to the cardiovascular stand-bys: running, cycling, swimming, using the gym’s elliptical machine. And while these methods can be effective in burning calories, they may not do enough to build lean muscle capable of improving athletic performance and boosting the metabolism.
That’s why the most effective fitness plans need to include lifting weights and a commitment to strength training. It doesn’t mean you have to pump 50-pound dumbbells or spending your whole trip to the gym on the weight machines, but it does mean some investment of time and energy in using weights. Let’s take a look at some reasons to add weight training to your exercise regimen.
1. Add Years to Your Life
We do so much to improve our overall health but we don’t always think about how our exercise regimen affects our longevity. For the young and middle-aged, the fitness goal is usually to look and feel better today and in the near future, not years (perhaps even decades) down the road.
But the 75-year-old version of you, the one enjoying retirement and spending time with grandchildren, may be really pleased that the younger edition of you made a commitment to strength training and lifting weights. That’s because muscle mass plays an important part in determining how we age, with research showing that increased muscle capacity can help us reduce our overall risk of death. In fact, as we age, the focus on losing fat or maintaining weight becomes progressively less important, with the priority shifting to keeping the muscle and strength we have.