Getting excited about lifting weights can be difficult for some people, and a lot of it has to do with the misperceptions and misunderstandings that tend to get passed around about this potent form of exercise.
It doesn’t replace what cardio does for our all-important heart and lung function, but lifting weights can be a primo supplement to cardio while also regulating our metabolism, building muscles and even improving our mood.
The most commonly debunked myths include the automatic acquisition of superhero bods we don’t necessarily want and automatic weight gain, which couldn’t be much further from the truth.
These are some of the other roadblocks that need to be shoved out of the way.
You must go to a gym or buy expensive equipment.
Free weights are in most cases a better choice for training because gym machines work one muscle group in isolation, giving you a very limited range of motion and not teaching your muscles to work together. One Canadian study found squats with free weights generate 43% more muscle activity during squats than doing them with a Smith machine (a common piece of gym equipment).
You need to start lifting weights before you turn (insert random age here).
In truth the benefits of lifting weights never go away, though you may need to start lighter if you’re starting to do it later in life. If anything, strength training becomes more important as you age for you to maintain bone density and the muscular strength to avoid falls.
You must have visible results for weightlifting to be worth it. As we’ve already established, weightlifting and strength training are wonderful for your insides as well as your outsides. It may reduce your risk of having a heart attack by 40% to 70%, according to a 2018 study out of Iowa State University. It does reduce your risk of diabetes and high cholesterol.
You need to pay big bucks for a personal trainer.
Supervision by an experienced weightlifter is always important when you’re starting out, but it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. Two or three lessons are often all you really need, and you can get a few friends together to split the cost. The other options include checking out the local Y or community center or online certified personal trainers. If you can’t find an affordable trainer you can use reputable websites or YouTube channels to get good information.
You can’t lift weights if you have joint problems.
While you shouldn’t lift weights when your joints are actively inflamed, strength training is good for your joints and when done correctly improves pain from arthritis and other conditions, allowing you to feel looser and more relaxed, as well as in less pain