Do you even lift? Oh, you do? Great! As you’ll probably already know, weight training can have tremendous benefits where your physical fitness is concerned. What you may not know, however, is that the upsides to lifting weights extend far beyond a muscly physique. Here are a few of the hidden benefits of weightlifting that you may not know about – and how to maximize those benefits.
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It’s as good for your mind as it is for your body
Most of the benefits that you hear about from weightlifting are of a physical nature. On the flip side, people who weight train are often incorrectly stuck with labels such as “jock”, “meathead”, and “hot head.” In fact, studies have shown quite the opposite to be true…
In reality, strength training can help reduce depression and anxiety, promoting calmness and level-headedness. Perhaps most surprising to those who would paint weightlifters as morons, lifting has also been proven to improve levels of cognition. Yes, according to science, lifting weights actually makes you smarter. Though it’s not well understood as to how and why this happens, it’s likely down to your body using neural mechanisms to communicate different actions to your muscles. In addition, exercise improves blood flow to the brain, which could be another reason for the observable connection between weightlifting and cognition.
For the best results, it’s advisable to work out in the morning, rather than at night. This will help ensure that you are focused and composed for the day ahead and will help you avoid being too “wired” to sleep at night.
It can help improve your blood quality
Weightlifting can have all kinds of beneficial effects on your blood, including but not limited to improved glucose levels, electrolytes, proteins, and enzymes.
As electrolytes are an important factor in weightlifting, getting your fluid balance checked via a comp metabolic panel test can help you monitor – and maximize – your electrolyte levels. A comp metabolic panel will also test for several other important indicators in your blood, helping you optimize your workout regime.
It can boost your immunity
People who lift weights or undertake regular strength conditioning take fewer sick days than the average employee. This is likely due to the above beneficial effects on both body and mind; healthy blood is an important factor in fighting disease and infections, and a strong mind can also help you soldier on through illness. Take solace in the fact that the more time you spend in the gym, the less time you’ll probably spend sick in bed.
It can strengthen your joints
Has anyone ever warned you that lifting weights puts too much strain on your joints and that it may lead to arthritis? Well, they’re wrong. Dead wrong.
In fact, people who undertake regular strength training have been shown to have far lower levels of osteoarthritis than the average person. As strong muscles are an important factor in joint support, weight training actually helps joint strength – as well as improving bone mass and bone density.