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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lawrence Taylor, The Rock. When we think of weightlifting, these are the types of images that come to mind. But contrary to popular belief, weightlifting, also referred to as weight training, resistance training, or strength training, is not restricted to the massive mounds of muscle. You don’t have to be a Baywatch hard-body to enjoy some quality time in the gym. Both men and women, from teenagers to senior citizens, have found out for themselves the numerous benefits of weightlifting. Everyone should include some weight training in their lives.

There are many positive results to be gained from an effective weightlifting program. The most well-known are the visual benefits. We all know the reason most guys go in the weight room: to pack on big muscles. Not a bad idea, as far as most girls are concerned. But many women also benefit from the sleek, toned look that weightlifting can develop for them. Women should not fear getting too "bulky" because their bodies have less testosterone then men, and therefore aren't programmed to bulk up. Everybody wants to be happy with what they see in the mirror, and weight training, along with a good diet, can make it happen. In general, you can expect to have more energy through your days if you weight train regularly.

An even better reason to start lifting weights are the numerous positive effects it has on your overall health. The health benefits of weight training include gains in strength and endurance, protection against joint injury, and heightened metabolic activity. For athletes in any sport from football to golf, gains in strength and endurance could be the difference between being number two and number one. Even for those who do not participate in sports, protection for joints and bones is something that will come in handy in the long run. Strengthening your muscles helps to protect your bones and stop you from hearing all those pops and cracks in the morning. Women especially should pay attention to this: it has been shown in recent studies that weightlifting does more good for women. It can delay osteoporosis, and even lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Lastly, the muscle that you put on by weightlifting, technically called “lean body mass,” will help your cardiovascular system. More lean body mass helps your metabolic system to burn calories more efficiently, keep weight in check, and improve the efficiency of sugar use in the body (which decreases one’s odds of getting diabetes). People up to age 90 have been known to make great improvements in their lives by doing resistance training. Seniors have found that they have more energy and agility and have regained the ability to do the things they always took for granted, like play with their grandkids and make it up a long flight of stairs.

The last reason to start weightlifting is one that many people don’t discover until they’ve tried it, and that’s the emotional benefits you may receive. Stronger people tend to feel more confident. Of course, that ties in with the visual aspect of things; if you feel better about how you look, you’ll have better self-esteem. If you have a good program, you’ll start to see the improvements you want, and you'll feel good about your progress. Setting goals, working towards them, and finally reaching them can be a motivating and exciting experience. If nothing else, pushing weights around can be a great stress reliever at the end of a long day of school or work.

As you can see, there are many reasons why weightlifting should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle. No matter who you are, the benefits you can receive are numerous, and it is easy to implement into your daily routine. Don't let anything hold you back. Get started now on creating a healthy body that will last you for years to come.