We all have our preconceptions around weightlifting, however, personal trainer Will Kennard is on board to highlight the awesome benefits which are born out of turning your attention to weightlifting. Check them out in full below.
Weightlifting can be a daunting thing at first, but like all things worthwhile, when you give it time and practice it will pay off for the rest of your life.
Weightlifting has long been associated with buff gym goers, made popular by the bodybuilding culture of the 70’s & 80’s. And for this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that weightlifting is going to give you bulging muscles you may not want! But we now know that this isn’t true, and many people are taking up weightlifting as a way to keep fit and healthy, and rightly so.
Weightlifting has a whole host of benefits for adults of all ages and genders, so let’s dive in and find out the ways in which it will change your life for good.
You'll feel great
This point comes first because it’s so important, yet is often overlooked when people are considering the various ways to keep healthy. Weightlifting makes you feel amazing!
When you lift weights you’ll feel great for two reasons: making progress and clearing your head.
The aim of weightlifting is progressive as you strive to get stronger and stronger, and with constant practice and good nutrition you bear witness to your evolving ability to lift heavier weights. There’s really nothing like the feeling of smashing through a target weight goal.
Many people who weight lift also describe a feeling of ‘heightened awareness’ which is simply your body’s way of letting you know you’re more alert. Lifting weights releases endorphins for hours on end after each session, making you feel amazing.
Your balance and posture will improve
When training with weights your body adapts itself to new stresses, and part of this process sees the recruitment of things called ‘motor neurons’.
Without getting too technical, motor neurons are the nerves responsible for movement. They are essentially connected to your muscle fibres, and they send signals to the muscles to tell them to move. These neurons are further bundled up into bunches called ‘motor units’ which, if you’ve never heard of them, are like a big spindle of neurons, all connected to lots of muscle fibres.
As we weight train, we force our body to adapt to strain, and this in turn means that more of our motor units start to ‘fire’ more often, basically making us stronger. We call this ‘motor unit recruitment’.
If you imagine it like a tug of war between you and the weight - the more people you get to help out on your side, the more likely it is you’ll win. This is the same principles when recruiting more motor units!
Over time through regular weight training, your body will get much better at activating more of these motor units, which is pretty cool because the more you are able to activate, the better all of your muscles ‘work’.
This has a big impact on your ability to balance better, and your ability to ‘hold yourself up’ - i.e. stand better.
After a few weeks of weight training, just see how much better you are at balancing on that crowded tube!
You'll get better at moving
Directly related to our last point, when you have more motor units working hard every day, you simply get better at doing normal movements like walking and bending down!
It’s an amazing feeling to realise the potential of your everyday movements, and how much confidence this exudes to people around you. It’s easy to think that weight training doesn’t help you with the mundane things, but it definitely does.
You'll get stronger
We’ve left the most obvious one until last: lifting weights makes you stronger!
But strength isn’t the only thing to take away from lifting; everyday tasks like opening doors, picking the kids up, and building flat pack furniture will be performed with more ease.
It’s nice to be stronger, and in the process you’ll make yourself more useful on a daily basis!
We’d love to hear from you - what are some of the ways weightlifting has benefited you? Leave a comment or get in touch on social media.
Will Kennard is a personal trainer and writes for Gym Talk.
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