02/01/2018 14:30 SAST | Updated 02/01/2018 14:31 SAST

Why You Should Not Ignore Weights At The Gym

Your health could literally depend on it.

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Every workout should include strength training. Amongst other health benefits, this type of training burns calories more efficiently, increases lean muscle mass and builds stronger bones.

1. It burns more calories

While cardio burns calories while you're exercising, strength training burns more calories long after you stop the workout. This is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and it refers to how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise.

2. It builds stronger bones

By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, acccording to the Mayo Clinic. This is because the older you grow, coupled with being inactive, the weaker your bones get –– but strength training can help counter this.

3. Preserves muscles

As you get older, the percentage of fat on your body increases, and so does your muscle mass. Strength training helps replace the lean muscle you lose over time. You will also have improved muscle strength and tone, helping to protect your joints from injury.

4. Helps manage diseases

Chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain and obesity can better be controlled and prevented through strength training.

The good news is you can strength train at home or at the gym. Common exercises include:

  • Body weight exercises: Through pushups, pullups, crunches and squats, for instance, you are using your own bodyweight for resistance.
  • Free weights -- weight bars, dumbbells and barbells are great strength training weights.
  • Weight machines -- there is normally a wide range of circuit-style machines at gyms targeting different muscle areas in the body.