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Have you ever walked into a gym, looked across the floor to weights area, and seen a bunch of (what appears to be) meatheads grunting and dropping giant dumbbells onto the floor? It can be intimidating, right? Especially if you haven’t had a lot of experience with lifting weights and aren’t confident in what you are doing. Doubts start to creep into your head. Why do you need to look like that anyway? Lifting weights is just for people who want to be bulky…I don’t want to be bulky. This post is all about telling you that these feelings are ok, and I will give you some reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid of the weight room. There are so many benefits to a strength training program that go beyond looking muscular.

  1. Improved bone health – We use our muscles to generate the forces that are needed for lifting weights. Muscles are attached to bones. Therefore, when we are lifting weights, this has an effect on our bones as well! The result is an improvement in our bone density, which is critically important, especially as we age. Females are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than males, so this benefit can not be highlighted enough for any women who are reading this right now. For senior citizens, improving your bone health makes it less likely you experience a fracture with a fall! So a lifting program can be good for someone of any age!
  2. Improved psychological health – Having a routine, setting goals, and achieving new milestones provides a purpose and structure that so many people need! When you complete a goal that you’ve set to reach, it feels so great to accomplish. Personally, I hit 225# on bench press a couple months ago (HUMBLEBRAG), and it was such a great feeling to finally be able to say I did it! Set your own goals, work for them, achieve them, and set a new one! That sense of accomplishment, feelings of belonging in a gym community, and the feel-good endorphins released with exercise can be beneficial in warding off anxiety and depression.
  3. Lower risk for injuries – DING DING! Hey, this is what I’m always talking about, right? I am always trying to give y’all new exercises that help lower your chance of hurting yourself. Lifting weights does that…as long as they are done correctly. A structured program with good technique will increase your strength safely and make your body more capable of handling the loads of daily work and play.
  4. Improved performance – Here’s another one I am talking about all the time. Weightlifting prepares your body for those daily tasks of work and play, making you more efficient. I think so many people out there get into an idea of “I’m a runner, I’m a climber, I’m a snowboarder, so I need to just do that activity over and over to get better.” No. While practicing the actual movements that you will be performing is obviously the best way to get better, it isn’t the only way and shouldn’t be the only way. Cross training is highly necessary and should be incorporated. Weight lifting falls into that category and this is why it’s so important…when your muscles are physically able to handle a higher load, you will be able to accomplish these tasks easier with less wasted energy, allowing for you to increase endurance as well. I’m looking at YOU, endurance athletes! Start lifting weights and you will get better at your sport. Period!

There you have it, these are just some of the not-as-obvious benefits to weight lifting. Don’t be afraid to get out there and try it! Whether you are a man or a woman, whether you are young or old, I encourage you to take part in lifting weights. It doesn’t matter if you are going for a HIIT class, or Crossfit, or bodybuilding lifts…the benefits are there for all of them. If you need help finding a place to get started, please reach out to me at scott@backcountry.physio. In addition to being able to help you myself, I know plenty of personal trainers and fitness coaches in the Colorado Springs area. I can help lead you in the right direction. If you have an injury history that you want to work through, I 100% recommend you talk to your favorite physical therapist about it first before starting a program. We will find a way to get you going without risking more pain. Let’s get this year going with an improved routine!