LearnWell: Is Lifting Weights Bad For You? 6 Misconceptions About Weights.
Weight Training Is Vital for Health
While even a small number of studies will show you how important exercise is, it’s not uncommon to hear the question, “Is lifting weights bad for me?” In fact, this question is a misguided one. The benefits of adding weights to your fitness routine are many and varied, no matter what situation you find yourself in.
If you grew up seeing weights and strength training as for bodybuilders only, or find them intimidating, it’s good to know that lifting weights has benefits for all of us, regardless of your current weight, age, or gender. Indeed, weight training is now seen as essential for overall health. Here are a few answers to some common misconceptions around weights!
Misconception 1: Weights Will Make You Too Bulky
Yes, some bodybuilders do want to get bulky. But if you work out with weights under expert guidance, you will rapidly achieve other goals. You will
- Get stronger,
- Increase your stamina,
- Lose fat, and
- Get the lean, toned look you want!
It’s all about expertise and the kind of workout you do. Women have less testosterone than men, so adding training with weights will not lead to bulk, but rather to strength and toning. Learning how to target different muscles, and how to not overdo exercise, is part of the art of working out with weights.
Classes likeyoga sculpt can provide a very satisfying blend of flexibility training, with the extra challenge of using light hand weights. These classes are particularly good for toning, although rest assured that using proper form with kettlebell exercises will also give you a lean, toned look.
Training with weights helps speed your metabolism, too, helping your body function, optimally.
Misconception 2: At Your Age (or for Your Gender/Size), You Need Gentle Exercise
Many women avoid lifting weights because they have been led to believe their bodies will respond better to cardio or yoga alone. Weights, however, are just as important for women as they are for men. Studies have shown the following benefits to adding weight training to your fitness routine:
- Healthy bones and lower risk of osteoporosis
- Improved memory and neurological health
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased happiness
Weight training can also guard against all kinds of cancers, including breast cancer.
Is lifting weights bad for you if you’re an older adult? No, on the contrary, it is good for you! The New York Times, for example, reported that with weight training, older adults can improve not only their strength but also their confidence and motivation.
Guidance is important so that you don’t get injured, so consider one-on-one training to get started. Additionally, if you are living with a chronic condition, working out with weights can improve your quality of life. Lifting weights can also lower your diabetes risk.
If you need to lose weight, one benefit of adding weight training to your workout is the “afterburn effect” — meaning that when you add muscle, you burn fat longer and so you don’t just lose weight but keep it off.
Misconception 3: You’re Too Weak to Lift Weights
Starting out with weight training can certainly be humbling, but it can also be exciting.
Lifting weights (it bears saying) builds strength. If you build healthy habits, you can go from being a novice to building strength quite rapidly. In a larger sense, the benefits of adding weight training to your fitness routine include the following:
- Strengthening your immune system
- Speeding up your metabolism
- Helping you reduce anxiety
- Helping you get quality sleep
Adding weight training to your workout can make you stronger in many senses!
Misconception 4: You’ll Need a Lot of Equipment
You can make a big difference without a lot of equipment. And now that we are all working from home (and will continue to, to one degree or another, for a while), it’s very important that workouts are simple and doable. At mylifewell.com, we have many classes that involve simple but powerful tools like the kettlebell.
Mastering this simple but excellent tool, for example, through one-on-one classes or a subscription to mylifewell.com can lead to
- Greater strength,
- Better joint mobility, and
- Burning calories and fat.
And all with one piece of equipment!
Misconception 5: Weight Lifting Is Boring
The truth is that many people come to look forward to their daily weight lifting workout as a mental and physical release. The sense you get from working toward goals and making measurable increases in strength, stamina, weight loss, and mood can in fact be addictive and exciting.
It’s important to set goals, like for example our 7 days of core strength challenge, which is delivered in short, progressively more challenging workouts. There are also specific exercises and skills you can master, like learning the Turkish getup, which requires physical and mental focus.
One benefit of adding weight training to your fitness routine is that it helps you fight depression. Mastering new skills and feeling stronger, less stressed, and more excited about life is anything but boring.
Misconception 6: You’re Not the Kind of Person Who Lifts Weights
This might be the most exciting aspect of lifting weights if you think they’re not right for you — expanding your sense of what is possible and what you can do. Doing away with a sense of self-limitation can feel very liberating.
Another common misconception is “I don’t have the time.” But in truth, weight workouts can be extremely time-efficient. Relatively quickly, you can expand your capabilities, itself motivating and encouraging in this most stressful time.
Weight training can show you what your body is able to do, including improving your quality of life outside of workouts. And if you play other sports or do yoga, for example, adding weights to your workout can help improve your sense of balance, which is also important to healthy aging.
So take flight and start moving joyfully toward your fitness and strength goals by adding weight training to your fitness routine. We wish you success on your journey!