You’ll Blast More Fat
Forget that “fat-burning” zone on the treadmill. According to a new study published in Obesity, strength training is better at helping people lose belly fat compared with cardio. While aerobic exercise burns both fat and muscle, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat.
You’ll Burn More Calories
Just sitting on your butt reading this, you’re burning calories—if you lift weights, that is. Your muscle mass largely determines your resting metabolic rate—how many calories you burn by just living and breathing. “The more muscle you have, the more energy your body expends,” says women’s strength expert Holly Perkins, CSCS. “Everything you do, from brushing your teeth, to sleeping, to checking Instagram, you’ll be burning more calories,” Perkins says.
You’ll Be Stronger Mentally
“Strength has a funny way of bleeding into all areas of your life, in the gym and out,” says Jen Sinkler, an Olympic lifting coach, kettlebell instructor, and author of Lift Weights Faster. By constantly challenging yourself to do things you never thought possible, your confidence grows. “Weight lifting empowers you,” she says.
You’ll Strengthen Your Bones
Weight lifting doesn’t only train your muscles; it trains your bones. When you perform a curl, for example, your muscles tug on your arm’s bones. The cells within those bones react by creating new bone cells, Perkins says. Your bones become stronger and more dense.
You’ll Have a Healthier Heart
Cardiovascular exercise isn’t the only exercise that’s, well, cardiovascular. In fact, strength training can up your heart health, too. In one Appalachian State University study, people who performed 45 minutes of moderate-intensity resistance exercise lowered their blood pressure by 20 percent. That’s as good as—if not better than—the benefits associated with most blood pressure pills.