20 Reasons Lifting Weights Is Better for Your Health Than You Think

If you think cardio is where it’s at when it comes to ensuring a healthy lifestyle, you’ve completely disregarded how good lifting weights can be for you. Either that, or you don’t have enough information!

Weight training is often overlooked by people who aren’t looking to bulk up, but the truth is that it’s actually more important to your health than you may think. What’s more, you can have a good weight lifting routine without becoming Arnold Schwarzenegger big. Here are 20 benefits of weightlifting:

1. Lifting weights helps build lean muscle mass.

When it comes to being a healthier you, lean muscle mass is incredibly important. Having too much fat on your body leads to an increase in health problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol and other obesity related ailments. The more muscle you have, the better your body will function.

Diego Cervo / Shutterstock.com
Diego Cervo / Shutterstock.com

2. Weight training burns more fat.

The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you’ll burn. Your metabolism will be in high gear long after your workouts which will allow your body to break down toxins and the food you eat faster and more effectively. This will lead to less body fat percentage and ultimately a healthier you.

bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock.com
bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock.com

3. You will reduce cortisol.

Cortisol, the hormone caused and released to combat high levels of stress, actually breaks down muscle mass and causes unnecessary weight gain. If you’re able to weight train regularly, you’ll be able to combat the breakdown of muscle and the overproduction of cortisol. And the good news is that weight training is only required for less than 45 minutes a day, four days a week in order to keep your cortisol levels balanced.

Skydive Erick / Shutterstock.com
Skydive Erick / Shutterstock.com

4. It keeps you young.

Between the ages of 30 and 50, your muscle mass decreases by 10 percent. If you chose to opt out of weight training during these years, that muscle mass won’t just disappear; it’s likely to be replaced by fat. If you keep up with regular weight training over this time, you can avoid that altogether and feel young well into your golden years.

Kzenon / Shutterstock.com
Kzenon / Shutterstock.com

5. You’ll eat better.

Keeping up with a routine weight training schedule will help you stick to healthier eating options as opposed to those who watch what they eat without supplemental exercise. A workout routine doesn’t always come with a diet, but you’ll be more conscious about eating healthier and that’s a great thing.

Burenkova Evgeniya / Shutterstock.com
Burenkova Evgeniya / Shutterstock.com

6. It improves brain function.

If you have a regular exercise schedule that includes weight training, you’re more likely to have a better memory and sharper cognitive abilities. This is because when you work your muscles, hormones are released causing your brain to grow new cells in a process know as neurogenesis. Similarly, these types of regular exercises can actually enlarge your brain’s memory center.

George Dolgikh / Shutterstock.com
George Dolgikh / Shutterstock.com

7. You’ll look better.

Vanity isn’t the top reason to lift weights, but it’s one of the many great side effects. When your muscles are worked out on a regular basis, they become lean and toned, automatically giving you a better figure. Your clothes will fit better and you’ll have more confidence when you look in the mirror. When you have a healthy view of yourself, you’re a healthier you.

Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

8. It improves self-esteem.

Setting goals and achieving them is a great way to improve your personal views of who you are. When you compete with yourself, not only do you surpass your own expectations but you give yourself a reason to believe in your own abilities again. This will help you with confidence outside the gym because you’ll be more able to appreciate your own strength and dedication.

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

9. Your whole body gets stronger.

Not only can lifting weights strengthen your muscles, it also increases strength all over your body. Bones, tissue, ligaments and collagen all become strong due to bone osteoblasts, which are bone forming cells made up of collagen, protein fibers, calcium and phosphate. These osteoblasts give bone and the tissue surrounding the bone the ability to rejuvenate, creating a protective barrier inside your body.

ndoeljindoel / Shutterstock.com
ndoeljindoel / Shutterstock.com

10. It will take you less time to get in shape.

If you lift weights on a regular basis, you’ll get in shape a lot faster than if you were doing aerobics for the same amount of time. Circuit training with weights will allow your heart rate to get up to 15 beats per minute higher than if you were to do cardio. The same cardiovascular benefits such as jogging on the treadmill or HIIT training can be found in lifting weights.

Smolina Marianna / Shutterstock.com
Smolina Marianna / Shutterstock.com

11. You’ll be more inclined to adventure outside your comfort zone.

When you become stronger from lifting weights, you’re more likely to want to do activities you otherwise wouldn’t consider. Things like rock climbing or group sports become less of a challenge for you, making you more inclined to join in.

Poprotskiy Alexey / Shutterstock.com
Poprotskiy Alexey / Shutterstock.com

12. It improves balance and coordination.

Getting your center of balance will be just another amazing side effect of weight training. You’ll know longer have to hold on to your dresser when putting on your socks. You’ll have better coordination and will be a master at basic activities that require hand-eye coordination or an exceptional level of balance.

Matej Kastelic / Shutterstock.com
Matej Kastelic / Shutterstock.com

13. You’ll sleep better.

When your body is running at its best, you’ll be able to get a better, more well rested sleep. When you awake in the morning, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on your day. This will improve the more you lift weights and a regular sleep schedule will make your life that much better.

Albina Glisic / Shutterstock.com
Albina Glisic / Shutterstock.com

14. It allows you to control your thoughts.

If you’re an overthinker, lifting weights could be just the ticket to help you control that. The movements required in lifting weights need a good level of focus and attention. This will help you think more clearly about things while outside the weight room and decrease overthinking by encouraging you to focus on one thought at a time.

Samo Trebizan / Shutterstock.com
Samo Trebizan / Shutterstock.com

15. It helps in the battle against mental illness.

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, weightlifting can be a great way to ease symptoms. Exercise has been proven to help alleviate many of the symptoms of depression and anxiety and lifting weights is no different. A study done at Harvard University had results that found training with weights improves depression and can actually have a higher success rate than therapy.

Motortion Films / Shutterstock.com
Motortion Films / Shutterstock.com

16. It fights body aches and pains.

The more you work the muscle, the more it works for you. Stretching and tearing the muscles allow them to repair stronger. This will decrease your regular aches and pains because of the fact that you’re no longer letting those muscles stagnate.

Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

17. It improves heart health.

Just 45 minutes of weight training can help decrease blood pressure by up to 20 percent. This is the same benefit that taking anti-hypertensive drugs has and if you do it regularly enough, blood circulation levels will stay balanced long after the workout is over. Even if you already suffer from heart disease, you can still weight train and it can actually improve the condition.

Maridav / Shutterstock.com
Maridav / Shutterstock.com

18. It wards off disease.

Lifting weights will decrease your risk of diabetes by almost 35 percent, even in those who rarely do aerobic exercise. If you tend to eat well on a regular basis and aren’t too worried about diabetes, weight training is still a great addition to your routine because of its ability to increase insulin sensitivity.

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

19. It relieves tension.

Whether it’s physical or mental tension, weight lifting is great for relaxing your body and mind. During the workout it may feel tough, but afterwards your body will thank you for using it to its full potential. The endorphins released during the workout make their way to the pleasure centers of your brain and can actually trigger relaxation and happiness. The more you lift, the happier you’ll be.

gpointstudio / Shutterstock.com
gpointstudio / Shutterstock.com

20. You’ll be better at sports.

Weight training makes playing sports easier and can actually improve your game. If you’re already into recreational sports, lifting weights will help you be the star of the team and if you’re more inclined to sit on the sidelines at risk of embarrassing yourself you can be certain that weight training will give you a better handle on sports.

GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com
GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com