When weight training is mentioned a lot of people instantly assume it is about bodybuilders lifting weights in gyms. It is riddled with stereotypes and misconceptions. Many people believe these misconceptions and are missing out on the benefits of lifting weights.
Resistance training will not only add definition to your muscles, it will also get you into shape better. With this you’re probably thinking it will bulk you up. That is not the case. Gaining large amounts of muscles takes years of intensive training and it would involve a high calorie diet. You would need to be consuming more calories than you are expending.
A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise suggests that resistance exercise is important for maintaining and improving bone health. An abstract of this study can be found here, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006
Researchers suggest “Although not all studies have shown improvement in bone density with strength training, strength training, if done with a high enough intensity for a prolonged period of time, seems to be effective for improving bone density in middle aged and older women who have low bone density. Programs that have been successful at increasing bone density have several common characteristics; training intensity above 70% 1RM, programs that last more than 12 months, and training frequency greater than two times per week.” A full copy of this article can be found here http://www.thesportjournal.org/article/training-improve-bone-density-adults-review-and-recommendations
Resistance training helps develop better body mechanics. It will improve your posture (http://www.springerlink.com/content/81v376x271j03343/) and balance and stability (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/adis/smd/2005/00000035/00000001/art00004).
Numerous studies have documented the many wellness benefits of strength training. It can have positive effects on osteoporosis, sarcopenia and lower back pain. More recent seminal research demonstrates that resistance training may positively affect risk factors such as insulin resistance, resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, body fat, and gastrointestinal transit time, which are associated with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. This is just one study which suggests all the above, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743501909090
You burn calories during resistance training, and your body continues to burn calories after resistance training. In effect it increases you metabolism. This study has further information regarding this, http://www.aleixo.com/biblioteca/obesidade/artigos/The%20Role%20of%20Resistance%20Exercise.pdf. Muscle is the calorie burning machinery in your body. The more you work it, the more calories you will burn during the day, which aids in fat loss.
Still not convinced about including weights to your training? Here are a few more benefits:
1) Muscle preservation
2) Improves body composition
3) Increases functional strength (for day-to-day activities)
4) Increases energy
5) Improves digestion
6) Increases HDL cholesterol (the good type)
7) Lowers resting heart rate
8) Improves your mood
9) Relieves stress
10) Makes you look good naked
With resistance training the muscles need time to recover, so it should be done on alternate days. Always take the time to warm-up and cool-down.