Why Weight Training Matters

It’s not just for good looks.

Your heart needs oxygen, so you do aerobics and cardio. But you should also add in some weight training to your routine. No, lifting weights isn’t just a way to beef up your pecs and make your thighs harder than granite (though weight lifting is a great way to do both). Weight training also gives your body and your brain some other perks that are equally as gratifying.

Here are a few of the reasons you need to spend some time with weights in your hands.

Reason #1: It Keeps You Balanced

Obviously, you need plenty of cardio to keep your body going strong. But to keep it going its strongest all the time, you’ll need to lift weights. You don’t have to bench 450 pounds and squat 2 tons. You just need to add weights to your routine on a regular basis. This will ensure your body and brain are well balanced and able to perform at their peak at all times.

Reason #2: It Fights Osteoporosis

At the same time lifting weights helps your muscles grow denser, it does the same for your bones. Instead of waiting for a fracture to cause you to realize your need for weight training, get started with the weights today. Grab a small dumbbell and start pumping away while you sit in your living room chair or walk around the neighborhood.

Reason #3: It Burns More Fat

In order to trim off extra fat from your body, you’ll need to get sweating with some good cardiovascular exercises. But to make your body burn more calories during your cardio and when you’re going about your regular daily routine, you’ll need to add some muscle weight to your body. The best way to do this? Lift weights.

Reason #4: It Helps You Sleep

Nearly everything you do requires an adequate amount of sleep. From mowing the lawn to writing a poem to answering the telephone to balancing your checkbook, if you don’t get enough shuteye, you won’t be able to complete these tasks as well as your well-rested peers. A great way to increase your likelihood to get a good night of sleep is to lift weights. So head to the weight-lifting section of the gym, do your thing, and get ready to hit the hay.

Reason #5: Your Body Does What It Should

More than likely, you’ve never had to chop wood with an axe or walk to school, and you can’t remember the last time you opted for stairs over the elevator. While life is more convenient than it was during the good old days, new technologies have resulted in you putting fewer demands on your muscles. Weight training allows your muscles to do what they were created for – moving and working.

Reason #6: Go Longer, Stronger

Feel worn out at the end of the day? Then you must not be lifting weights. Getting regular weight training helps you grow your stamina so you can go strong all day, no matter what you come up against. In addition to going longer, lifting weights helps you go stronger as well.

Use Your Body

Though weight training is usually thought of as requiring hard, metal plates, it doesn’t always. Actually, you carry around all the weights necessary to keep your body in pretty good shape.

If you can’t make it to the gym and don’t have room to keep a weight set at your house, you can perform exercises that pit you against your body weight. How? By performing some of the most basic exercises in your repertoire. Push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, sit-ups, and leg squats all force you to work against your body weight and give you many of the same results of using barbells, dumbbells, and strength resistance machines.

Lies You Believe about Exercise

The truth will set you freeā€¦to exercise better!

Everyone falls prey to lies and myths on occasion. But if you buy into one of these and your exercise routine is affected by it, you could be in a world of danger. What lies may be affecting your ability to work out safely and with maximum results? Read on to find out.

Lie 1: Big Size = Big Strength

Okay, so the big guys are often rather strong (you won’t see a lot of skinny folks lifting cars), but you don’t have to be super beefy to be strong. Actually, too much muscle mass can make it difficult to perform certain activities. Instead of focusing on getting bigger, bigger, bigger, go for exercises that help you get in good shape, have good muscle definition, and retain your ability to move quickly.

Lie 2: Muscle Becomes Fat

Ever wished you could transform all of the fat around your midsection into rock-hard muscle? Of course you have. Unfortunately, you know you have to burn off the fat in order to make room for muscle. Likewise, the muscle you build up won’t turn into fat when you stop working out. You just think it did, because any time you stop working out, you see unwanted pounds show up with such speed.

Lie 3: You’ll Get His or Her Results

At every gym there are people with great bodies. Everything is where it should be and every muscle is well defined and shapely. To get the same results, you ask one of these model-looking individuals for the secrets to their picture-perfect bodies. You take careful notes and then attempt to mimic their every move in the gym. Unfortunately, what works for one person may not work for you. Every body is different and responds differently to various exercises. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise, try plenty of different workouts to find out what works best for you.

Lie 4: Tons of Gym Time, Awesome Results

If spending an hour or two in the gym five days a week is good for you, then spending five hours every day pushing your body to the max is even better – right? Wrong. Overtraining your muscles and not giving them any chance to rest can actually cause your muscles to begin breaking down and going away. On top of this, you also put your muscles at risk for some serious injuries if you spend too much time exercising – especially if you’re doing the same movements over and over again.

Good Intentions

Exercise myths aren’t always created out of malice. In fact, many of them are built on what would seem to be common sense. However, deciphering between truth and fiction is the only way to ensure your workouts are safe and beneficial.

Lie 5: Slow Is Safe

Commercials that feature outdoor groups of people enjoying a relaxing class of yoga can be misleading. While yoga and pilates can be relaxing and slow-moving ways to get exercise, they can put your body at risk for some of the same injuries other exercises pose. So before hopping into an advanced yoga class without understanding what you’re getting into, start at the beginner’s level and gradually work your way up to the more advanced, demanding classes.

Lie 6: Form Doesn’t Matter

Back when you were first starting to lift weights, you worried about keeping perfect form for each rep. But over time, you began to realize that form wasn’t as important as just getting out there and lifting. Unfortunately, your epiphany isn’t based in truth, because if you lift weights or perform other exercises without using the right form, the negative results are two-fold. First, you aren’t actually targeting the muscle you think you are unless you maintain good form. Second, improper form puts you at great risk for a variety of severe injuries.

Lie 7: Genetics Are Everything

If your parents and grandparents are overweight and out of shape, it can be easy for you to expect the same fate for yourself. But don’t let your genetics get in the way of exercise. Instead, understand that you may have to make some modifications (including what you eat) to get the results you want in the gym. You may even have to change your goals to better meet your body’s abilities.

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