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Lift weights? Why? Because! #2

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Have you started lifting weights after last week's four good, solid reasons why you should? If yes, great! If not, then I'll try four more reasons that hopefully will persuade you to raise that dumbbell over your head.

#5. Everyone has some stress in their life. Health scientists have found that the fittest people exhibit lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit. Also, after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle. So, work your muscles in the weight room and you will stay cooler under pressure.

#6. You will be happier. Research has found that people who perform three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood. Yoga works to improve your mood, also, but lifting weights will make you feel happier and give you many more benefits also.

#7. If you have been reading my health and fitness blog, you know that once you pass 30 years of life, your bone density begins to decrease. Loss of bone density over many years without intervention could lead to serious bone loss and fracture. The good news is that a study found that only 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin--a marker of bone growth--by 19 percent. What this means that bone loss can be delayed, and in some cases reversed with resistance training.

#8. You will get in shape faster with the right kind of weight lifting. The term cardio workout does not describe only aerobic exercise. Studies have found that correctly run circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise. So, you can work your cardiovascular system and lift weights at the same time, and save a lot of time.

With eight healthy reasons to work out with weights you must now be convinced that it is time to make that appointment with a fitness specialist at the Y. If for some whimpy reason, you have still not hit the gym, my next blog will give you four more reasons why you should.