Nowadays, many people are obsessed about having toned and perfectly shaped bodies. One of the approaches used to achieve the ideal body is weight training.
Research has shown that weightlifting not only results in a toned appearance, it also improves one’s overall health. Read on to find the benefits associated with weight lifting.
Muscle Fights Fat
In a 2008 study by Boston University researchers, it was found that type II muscle fibers which are built by lifting weights, improve the body’s metabolism. The researchers injected mice with the type II muscle growth gene that they could easily activate or deactivate.
After feeding the mice with a high sugar, high fat diet for 8 weeks, they turned on the gene and continued feeding the mice with the diet. Without changing their activity level, the mice demonstrated a loss of body fat.
The conclusion was that type II muscle fibers are effective in fighting against obesity and reducing body fat without altering diet.
Keeps Diabetes at Bay
Weight lifting and other forms of exercising are able to reverse diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce sufficient insulin.
When your muscles and other body tissues do not get enough glucose from the blood, you begin to experience blood vessel damage and this leads to serious conditions such as strokes, and heart disease.
In patients with diabetes 2, the accumulation of fat interferes with the transport of glucose in the body. However, physical activity can reverse this condition. Muscle contractions stimulate the production of a special kind of enzyme that breaks down fats that hamper the transport of glucose.
Strong Bones and Back Muscles
Studies have shown that weight training increases bone mass and lowers the risk of osteoporosis. As you grow older, you lose bone mass and muscle.
This is especially true for women who have small bones and normally grow weaker with age. Muscles adjust to the stress of weight training by becoming bigger.
The same case applies to your bones when forced to carry more weight. When muscles contract during weight lifting, they apply force on the bones that in turn create new tissue to bear the excess weight.
Researchers believe that exercising stimulates the mature bone cells to instruct the cells responsible for bone building, to build new bone tissue.
Weightlifting results in strong back muscles. Experts recommend hip extensions, step-ups, and squatting exercises as good for the back.
Weight training improves the body’s capacity to utilize and carry oxygen during workouts also known as VO2 max. This capacity determines your physical fitness.
According to a university study conducted in 1993, weight training was found to be more effective in increasing oxygen demand and supply than treadmill exercise.
Improved Heart Health
Weight training improves the condition of your heart. According to a college of science study, there is a 20 percent drop in blood pressure after 45 minutes of strength training.
This improved blood flow effect persisted for 30 minutes after the training session and lingered for 24 hours in individuals who trained often.
Improved Brain Function
Exercising increases brain molecules that are essential for cognition. One of the molecules associated with exercising is the brain-derived neurotrophic factor also called BDNF. This molecule is crucial for the survival and growth of brain cells.
Research on rats has shown that physical activity boosts the levels of BDNF in the hippocampus- the area of the brain associated with memory formation and learning. The high levels of BDNF helps the rats remember how to find their way in underwater mazes.
Studies on humans have also shown that exercising improves cognition. A clinical trial on individuals aged 50 years and above with memory problems confirmed the effects of exercises.
Participants who were assigned to a workout regimen scored higher compared to their sedentary peers.
Studies have linked exercises with the prevention of the risk of cancer. Since physical activity affects your body weight, leaner persons have a low circulation of insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas and necessary for the absorption of glucose by the body.
People who are obese or overweight are resistant to insulin since their cells do not respond to insulin.
In such cases, the pancreas secretes great amounts of insulin flooding the bloodstream and these high levels are associated with some types of cancer- insulin can create tumors or increase the growth of tumors.
Exercising helps overweight people to shed excess weight hence rectifying this insulin disorder.
Exercise also reduces the presence of female hormones progesterone and estrogen in one’s blood. This lowers the risk of developing uterine and breast cancers which are brought by high levels of these hormones.
Improves Sport Performance
Many people believe that weight lifting builds bulk muscles and is likely to slow down athletes. On the contrary, weight lifting aids in construction non-bulky muscles consisting of dense fibers.
When combined with strength training, resistance training, and power training, weight training helps improve performance in sports. Experts note that weight lifting helps to improve endurance, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity, important elements for success in any sport.