Finnish scientists want us to start lifting: Here’s why

Weight lifting benefits all of us

This year, the University of Jyväskylä issued a press release outlining the benefits of weightlifting on older people. The results were life-changing and have inspired many Finns to hit the gym. Here’s why you should too.

Weight lifting makes you look younger 

If you’re not hitting the gym past the age of 30, you’re losing around 5% of your muscle mass every year. Throw in a hunched posture and some fine wrinkles into the mix, and you’re on a fast track to old age. But dusting off those dumbbells does wonders. Those who start lifting in middle age regain and maintain muscle mass. And that’s not all. Weight lifting encourages your body to produce anti-ageing hormones such as oxytocin and progesterone.

You’ll age like a fine wine 

Finnish scientists wanted to see if weight lifting could improve the lives of older adults. So they asked 81 people between the ages of 65 and 75 to lift weights twice a week for six months. They found that the participants gained confidence as well as strength. This had a fantastic effect on almost every area of their lives. A year after the study ended, nearly half of the sample was still getting out there and lifting weights. 

You’ll get smarter 

Lifting weights adds mass to your brain as well as your biceps. In fact, just twenty minutes of weight lifting improves short term memory by 10%. And the benefits of pumping iron don’t end there. A study of people with early dementia showed that lifting twice a week improves cognition. 

It works as cardio exercise too 

Running is often seen as the best exercise for your heart. But weight lifting has a pretty impressive track record too. In fact, a 2018 study showed that weight lifting could have a better effect on your heart than jogging. Similar studies have concluded that weight training reduces the risk of stroke. That being said, the healthiest of the sample were those who combined weight training with cardio, so don’t pack away that spin bike just yet.  

It makes you happy 

Weight lifting can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, regardless of how strong you get. The simple act of getting things done was enough to get participants out of a slump. In fact, some scientists believe that the effects of weight lifting mirror those of antidepressants. The good vibes are felt instantly, and they are long-lasting. Lifting floods the bloodstream with endorphins in minutes, while the physical changes you see after months of hard work really puts a spring in your step.    

The dumbbell corner of the gym should not be seen as an exclusive place for tough men and toned women. As study upon study has concluded, all of us should make friends with our dumbbell sets, and learn to love lifting. 

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