On the whole, regular physical training is among the greatest things we can do for our body and mind. When performed correctly, weightlifting is incredibly safe, despite the cynics.
In fact, anyone who considers resistance training to be dangerous is downright wrong. It is indeed a greater risk to be sedentary.
Not going to the gym, like, ever? A lack of exercise is objectively dangerous for your system.
Let’s reflect on the positive aspects of lifting weights, whether via powerlifting, bodybuilding, circuit training, etc. All of these benefits have been documented by peer-reviewed studies.
- Develop muscular strength, which protects joints and renders lesser tasks easier and safer
- Improve core stability, which protects the spine and preserves healthy posture
- Maintains or increases bone density, which combats effects of aging
- Releases chemicals throughout system that reduce stress and promote positive feelings
- Boosts metabolism and burns calories, helping to maintain a healthy body fat level
- Regular exercise can improve sleep during night and increase energy levels during day
We could go on, but let’s not. Those who neglect the gym are by now embarrassed enough.
Some may believe they are an exception to the rule. Perhaps, but not likely. Let’s bust some myths around that too.
1. I’m too old start.
Everyone knows somebody who laments that, because their prime has passed, there is no point in working out. Again, this could not be further from the truth.
From any age, the best time to begin resistance training is today. The older we get, and the less active our exercise history, the more prone we become to physical injuries, as well as chronic pains and discomforts. It has also been strongly suggested by scientific literature that regular exercise can fend off issues related to cognitive decline.
Again, the bigger risk here is to avoid training because of feeble excuses.
2. Women should only do cardio.
Some variation of this myth perpetuates gym cultures around the world and it’s quite false.
As mentioned above, one benefit of resistance training is that we can increase our bone density. Well, adults begin to lose bone mass by middle age—and studies show that women tend to lose bone mass markedly faster than men. Weightlifting is therefore just as important for women, especially after 30. Which brings us to the next point…
3. Women don’t get bulky from lifting weights.
Many females fret that hitting the gym too hard will result in looking like a man. They worry about getting too big before they have even gained a pound. However, this cannot happen without steroids.
A man on average has roughly 15 times the amount of testosterone circulating through his system than a woman of the same age. Primarily for this reason, most women probably aren’t going hard enough—they actually need to work extra hard in order to gain meaningful muscle mass.
4. I’m too injured to continue.
Often someone will claim that they don’t squat anymore because of their bad knee, or cannot deadlift anymore because of their bad back. And sometimes this is true—severe injuries may have long-term impacts and adaptions could be necessary.
Most, however, do more harm than good by avoiding weight lifting. Proper squats are in fact healthy for the knee, as they have been since the dawn of time. Developing the muscle mass surrounding the knee joint through resistance training will better protect against future injuries at that site. Same goes for the deadlift, which trains your core and back, which in turn protects the back from discomfort and injury.
We recommend consulting a physical therapist or other qualified professional to help integrate weight lifting into your rehabilitation.
5. Working out takes too much time.
If one is passionate about fitness, hitting the gym every day is not a chore—it’s closer to a treat. If one is an athlete, training is frequent and fun.
Even if you despise exercise, know that it does not take much to see improvements and maintain results. Well-designed circuits can deliver full-body training inside half an hour, and a beginner would only have to commit to two circuits per week to realize progress over time.
If you cannot give your physical (and mental) health one hour per week of priority, then you must really hate yourself!
The excuses are done, my friend—let’s get lifting.