Lifting Weights Gives You an Edge
Over heart disease,
Diabetes, and cancer.
Lifting even makes you smarter and happier.
How can the simple act of picking up a weight, putting it down, and repeating a few times bestow such a bevy of benefits? It all starts at the microscopic level of the muscle fiber.
A quick primer: When you lift weights, you cause tiny tears in your muscle fibers. This accelerates a process called muscle-protein synthesis that uses amino acids to repair and reinforce the fibers, making them resistant to future damage. So, when a muscle fiber is exposed to a frequent challenge – as it is when you regularly lift weights—it makes structural adaptations to better handle that challenge. For example, your muscles adapt by getting bigger and stronger, or by becoming more resistant to fatigue. These adaptations occur to reduce stress on your body, which is why you can perform everyday functions—such as walking up stairs or picking up a light object—with little effort. It’s also why if you routinely lift weights, you will find that even the hardest physical tasks become easier. In scientific circles, this is known as the training effect. Turns out, this training effect improves not only your muscles but your entire life, too. It is, in fact, what gives you the edge.