I'm going to start this off by saying that 'lifting weights' really means 'using weight as a means of exercise, as opposed to only using cardio for exercise'. (You can see why I chose the simpler title, though.) And 'using weight as a means of exercise' means that you can do squats, for example, without weight. Or you can do pushups, pullups, and a whole variety of different exercises that might help you. (Check out our videos for some helpful exercise videos.)
Now, if you're really against the whole idea of using weight instead of cardio, then you really need to read this article – aside from the fun and diversity you can incorporate into exercise by taking this advice, you'll even discover other benefits that you might not have known existed....
1. You'll Burn More Fat. That's right, MANY studies show that using weight while exercising will help you lose much more body fat than dieting or cardio will alone, or together without the weights. In fact, if you looked at the composition of the actual scale weight being lost, you'd see that with weight-exercise you'll lose calories only from body fat, but with dieting and/or cardio alone, some of the scale weight you're losing is actually muscle as well. Which of course is bad for a variety of reasons, including...
2. Muscle Burns Calories. It's been proven time and again that muscle burns calories. That is to say, muscle that is simply sitting there (looking pretty) uses up calories. This is because muscle tissue requires calories to repair fibers damaged during use – as opposed to fat, which burns nothing just sitting there.
3. Posture. Doing the right muscle strengthening exercise can help to improve your posture, and can even help take away some of those aches and pains you might be feeling. While there are a whole variety of different posture-related weight exercises you can be doing, try something like this one. And if you need something catered to your own individual needs, work with someone like me or our physiotherapist.
4. You'll Lower Your Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease. Studies are showing that muscle can help to remove glucose and triglycerides from your bloodstream, which is helpful with diabetes. It also helps prevent hardening of your arteries, which is of course good for your heart.
5. You'll Simply Get More Out of Life. Be it lifting your kids with greater ease, feeling more confident at the office or having more fun in bed with your partner, having a little more strength and agility goes a long way to making your whole life that much better. Want to help that little old lady across the street? No problem! Heck, you can help them ALL with a little more muscle.
By Richard Lobbenberg, BSc BHSc DAc