I always loved running. But one day I picked up a pair of dumbbells in the gym. I was amazed that lifting weights was fun and it gave me the same feeling I had when I finished a long distance run. What are the mental and physical benefits of lifting weights and training your muscles?
I was a runner
I always loved running. Mainly because it is so simple. Just put on your running shoes, step outside and go. Early spring, as soon as the temperature outside was rising, I always started my running routine. Usually running two times per week. In a few weeks time I was in great shape, easily running six to ten mile distances. But in the autumn, when it became wet and cold outside, I stopped running. In the winter I usually felt out of shape and struggled to stay fit.
Looking for alternatives to my exercise ‘winter break’ I joined a local gym. Mainly for running on the treadmill, which was the only thing I did the first few months. From that treadmill I watched TV (love Discovery Channel!). And I watched the other people in the gym lifting weights. Their faces were intense and some even grunted during their reps. It didn’t look (and sound) like much fun and I wondered why they even bothered.
For me, training my muscles in the gym somehow seemed ‘artificial’. That was the thing people did that wanted to look good and impress others with their muscles. That was not the reason I exercised. I exercised because I wanted to stay healthy and fit, not to impress others.
I picked up some dumbbells
One day, when I finished my run on the treadmill and no one was watching, I picked up some dumbbells. I quickly grabbed my phone and downloaded the ‘Full Fitness‘ app. After a few minutes I was doing the “Arnold Press”. Followed by the “Dumbbell biceps curl”, “Hammer Curl” and “Bench Press”. Then I picked up some heavier weights and I even tried the “Shrug”.
Wow! That was fun. My body was tired but I also felt energized. The same feeling I had when I finished a long distance run. Then I went home and took a shower. The following day the muscles in my arms were aching. I even had trouble lifting my coffee cup from the table. But I loved it!
Some of the benefits of training your muscles:
Protect your joints
Strong muscles are one of the best ways to protect a joint. Your joints and muscles work in tandem to help you do everything. Strengthening your muscles is one of the fundamental ways to help protect your joints. When the muscles surrounding your joints become stronger, the joint will be relieved, resulting in less wear and tear. The muscle tension creates a natural corset, making your daily life easier.
Reverse muscle loss due to aging
As you age you lose muscle mass. People who are physically inactive lose between 3 and 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after age 30, and it accelerates at around 65. Training your muscles activates a muscle stem cell called a satellite cell. After a few months of regular training, the biochemical, physiological and genetic signature of older muscle can be “turned back” nearly 15 or 20 years.
Make your bones stronger
Training your muscles is a great way to boost circulation. The improved blood flow is good for healthy tendons and bone tissue. This increases the bone density, making your bones stronger and less susceptible to bone fractures.
Your muscles are one of the places you store energy. So, by training your muscles and increasing your muscle capacity you will be able to store more energy. That means bigger batteries!
No pain, no gain
To make muscles stronger, you need to injure them. It’s only through the process of repairing damaged muscle fibers that growth takes place.
When you are training your muscles, you lift yourself to a higher level. This is also a mental process. Learning us that endurance, grinding and pain make us stronger. Both physically and mentally.