Many people believe that cardiovascular exercise is sufficient to address all their exercise needs. They engage in activities such as running, biking, or swimming thinking that they are receiving the maximum health benefit from thier exercise program. They mistakenly think that weightlifting is either redundant or simply unnecessary. People often look at weightlifting as an activity for muscle heads or narcissists.
Surprisingly, the muscle heads and narcissists actually have an advantage on those simply doing cardiovascular exercise. Studies over the last 10 years have shown that weightlifting exercise is more effective at reducing blood pressure and cholesterol than cardiovascular exercise. The ultimate exercise plan, however, should involve both weightlifting and cardiovascular activity. This will provide you with the optimum health benefits.
In addition to improving your general health, weight lifting will also provide numerous other benefits. Weightlifting can improve your balance by adding strength to your lower extremities and core (stomach area). You will experience an improved ability to perform functional activities such as stair climbing and squatting. You will notice daily activities such as lifting tasks will become easier. Your posture will improve and you can expect a decreased risk for developing musculoskeletal injuries.
Weightlifting is also the primary stimulus for bone growth. It was previously thought that weight-bearing activity provided the stimulus for strengthening bones. This is not true. It is actually the contraction of muscles that provides the bone with a stimulus to grow. Regular weightlifting will lead to a decreased chance for the development of osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) which can lead to painful and debilitating fractures.
So, if you are currently avoiding weightlifting in your regular exercise routine, it is time to make a change. And if you have not yet started to exercise, then this is a good time to make a decision to engage yourself in a comprehensive exercise program involving both weightlifting and cardiovascular activity.