Whenever you open a men’s or women’s lifestyle magazine, buff and chiseled men and women stare back at you from the pages, looking toned, tanned and happy. Although many of those images are probably highly PhotoShopped and air-brushed, it’s clear those people have put in their time at the gym. But are their happy smiles and healthy glow all real? Perhaps. Weightlifting can help you burn fat, reduce your risk of diabetes, prevent back pain and even help you fight depression. Research findings show that not only can weightlifting improve your body composition and give you a toned appearance, but it can also improve your overall health and make you a happier person.
1. Muscle Fights Fat
Want to be able to have that extra piece of pizza without feeling guilty? Lift weights. In an animal study published in the Feb. 6, 2008 issue of Cell Metabolism, Boston University researchers demonstrated that type II muscle fibers, the kind you build when you lift weights, improve whole-body metabolism. The researchers genetically engineered mice with a type II muscle growth-regulating gene that could be turned on and off. After eight weeks on a high-fat, high-sugar diet, they activated the gene, but did not change the mice’s diet. Without any change in activity level, the mice lost total body fat. The researchers concluded that an increase in type II muscle fibers can reduce body fat without changes to diet and might be effective in the fight against obesity.
2. Reduce Depression Symptoms
When it comes to the effects of exercise on depression, aerobic exercise, such as running and swimming, has been much more extensively researched than anaerobic exercise, such as weightlifting. But as one study reports, there’s little difference between the two in terms of how well they relieve symptoms of depression. Continue reading