Monday, July 9, 2012

Why You Should Lift Weights

I've been focusing on running over the past several months so you've probably noticed more posts than usual on that subject. As important as cardio conditioning is, and as glad as I am with some running progress I have made this year, I feel I have let another component of my physical fitness slip. I'm talking about weight lifting.

When it comes to resistance training, people have different preferences. Some prefer free weights, others choose Olympic style lifts, kettlebells, machines, or even using their own body weight as resistance. One thing all of these activities have in common is that they strengthen your muscles and improve your health.

I've said this before and don't want to sound like a broken record, but one of my pet peeves is when I tell women about the benefits of lifting weights and they express concern that they are going to "bulk up." That is kind of like me being afraid of getting a manicure because it will make me look like Miss America. Ladies, you are not going to look like a man unless you start taking steroids! I admit that some extreme women bodybuilders scare other women away from weights, but they are tying to look freakish on purpose and are doing some very unnatural things to achieve that look.

Muscle is a beautiful thing and building muscle does not compromise a woman's femininity. When I refer to lifting weights, I don't mean doing 35 repetitions with a cute 6 ounce neoprene dumbbell. You need to lift heavier weights for your body to adapt.

Regardless of how much muscle you think looks best on the human body, everyone should do some form of resistance training not just for the improved looks, but because it is good for you. Aside from developing a better body, strength training can also do the following:

* Help alleviate depression
* It will help you burn calories
* Improve athletic ability
* Help with injury prevention
* Reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes
* Build stronger bones and offset osteoporosis
* It increases your energy level
* Help with stress relief
* Reduce the risk of injuries

If you have not consistently been involved with resistance exercises, then I encourage you to join me by making a renewed commitment to do so.

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