You don’t have to lift weights like you’re preparing for the Olympics to reap all of the benefits of weight bearing exercise. And you don’t even have to have weights; you can use your own body weight as resistance. While cardio training does burn more calories per hour, with resistance and weight bearing exercise, your metabolism is about 20% higher for the first 48 hours after resistance training. What that means is that it’s kind of an “after-burn” effect from weight bearing exercises, so your body will be burning even more calories while you are watching TV, sleeping, at your desk, etc. Did you know that a pound of fat burns about 2 calories per day, but a pound of lean skeletal muscle (which you’ve replaced the fat with by doing weight bearing exercise) burns about 10 calories per day? So you can see the benefits of having that muscle in place of the fat, the muscle requires more energy, thus burns more calories.
And of course, there’s overwhelming research that resistance and weight bearing exercise is great for bone density too. It helps decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
So, whether it’s dumbbells or barbells, weight machines, resistance and fitness bands, or simply push-ups and squats using your own body weight, doing resistance and weight bearing exercise on a regular basis is the key to getting in shape and staying at your set-point weight (especially after a lot of weight loss) because you are replacing the fat with muscle in its place.
All of the physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance training include:
> Improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury
> Maintaining flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age
> Weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – As you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules while at rest
> Helping to reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people
> Greater stamina – As you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily
> Prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression, and obesity
> Pain management
> Improved mobility and balance
> Improved posture
> Decreased risk of injury
> Increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis
> Improved sense of well-being – Resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image, and your mood
> A better night’s sleep and avoidance of insomnia
> Increased self-esteem
> Enhanced performance of everyday tasks