Weightlifting goes far beyond the aesthetics of cap deltoids and a six pack; it is actually a recommended activity for overall health and wellness. In addition to regular cardio activity, weightlifting can greatly improve the efficiency of the muscular system and overall wellness.
The Muscular System
The muscles involved in weightlifting fall into the category of skeletal muscle. These muscles attach to the bones and are considered voluntary muscles since they move as you tell them to. The odd twitch may not always be voluntary but the term applies to skeletal muscles in general. The four main functions of the muscular system include generating movement, maintaining posture, stabilizing joints and generating heat. Weightlifting helps condition and develop skeletal muscle to better achieve these four functions.
It may seem redundant but moving weights helps improve the muscular system’s ability to move. As weightlifting increases muscle mass and strength it naturally becomes easier to accomplish certain movements. Squats and deadlifts yield strong legs, making it easier to get up, sit down and walk. Lat pulldowns and seated rows build a stronger back, making it easier to bend and pick things up. Overhead presses and side lateral raises build the shoulders, which allows for easier movement of the arms overhead. Stronger muscles yield a better ability to move the body.
Posture and Stability
The muscular system is key to holding your skeleton in place. Without the connective tissue your bones would rattle around in a shapeless heap. Developing the muscles through weightlifting strengthens and solidifies all of the connective elements that make up the muscular system and hold your body upright. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, weightlifting is encouraged as a weight-bearing exercise to help build strong bones. A solid muscular system helps yield a solid skeletal system, and weightlifting is a viable activity to achieve both.
Past a certain age metabolism may seem like a bad word. Much as you may dig your heels in and protest, your metabolism gradually slows over time. However, the muscular system plays a key role in generating internal heat for the body and keeping the metabolism stoked. Your body is constantly burning calories simply to keep itself going. Cell renewal, organ function and all the other internal workings of your body constantly burn calories beyond what you may shed on the treadmill. The more mass there is on your muscular system, the higher your resting metabolism runs. It requires more energy for the body to maintain muscle mass, so the greater the mass of the muscular system, the higher your metabolism will run all on its own. Losing weight alone isn’t enough to increase the resting metabolism. Weightlifting is key to increasing mass of the muscular system to increase the resting metabolism.
- Human Anatomy and Physiology; Elaine N. Marieb
- OrthoInfo: Weaightbearig Exercises for Women and Girls
- Bodybuilding.com: Resting Metabolic Rate Calculator
Jullie Chung writes regularly for various websites. She is a nationally certified fitness trainer and performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and trains regularly in yoga, flatwater kayaking, boxing and mixed martial arts. An avid outdoor fan, she regularly hikes, climbs and trail runs.