The benefits of lifting weights go well beyond gaining strength and having the ability to flex your muscles. There are other ways this kind of training boosts your physical and mental health. Keep reading for the surprising perks that might just inspire you to grab a barbell.
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Using weights increases your muscle mass, says Morit Summers, author of Big & Bold: Strength Training For The Plus-Size Woman and Boostcamp app. “Muscle mass increases our overall strength which makes [movements in] our daily lives easier,” she explains.
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Consistently weight lifting not only makes you stronger in your resistance training but in other workouts, too. “Muscular strength and endurance are both built when lifting weights,” says Summers, who notes she’s had clients notice an improved running game.
Another perk of having better body alignment from lifting weights? You’ll have increased balancing skills, says Joye. “Lifting weights helps you to be more in tune with your body both physically and mentally,” she explains.
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Weight lifting burns a lot of calories, says Matthews, and the increase in muscle mass means your body burns more calories when you’re resting — something called your metabolic rate. “Building muscle keeps your metabolic function high,” says Summers.
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Weight lifting requires more from your body than physical activity. “As training becomes more complex, it requires more brain activity,” says Wong, explaining that your brain becomes better able to process these movements — and more.
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Being able to lift heavy things can give you a boost of self-confidence. “It gives the feeling of accomplishment,” says Summers. “You’ll know you can handle yourself in situations like lifting a suitcase to protecting yourself and others if you needed to.”