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An activity currently undertaken by both men and women, most people are unaware that weight-lifting began as early as in 1896 when it was purely used to measure power or strength in Egypt as well as Greek communities (Bagchi, Nair and Sen 37). In the nineteenth century, it was a well known international sport, especially in Athens and adjacent nationalities. Weight-lifting is currently practiced as a sport while some people undertake it entirely as a hobby (Bagchi, Nair and Sen 38). The exercise has been associated with pros which include health and psychological benefits such as reducing low self-esteem and loss of body fat as well as demerits such as exposure to harmful drugs and high costs.
Enhancing Mood and Reducing Stress
Being a form of exercise, weight-lifting reduces ones stress and improves mood at the same time (Bagchi, Nair and Sen 39). While lifting weights, endorphin is released. Endorphin normally assists in reducing and minimizing not only stress but also anxiety. While lifting weight, an exercise activity, the body produces the pain-relieving substance, endorphin, to assist in coping up with the pain. The substance also enhances happiness levels as it increases. Therefore the more one gets engaged in weight-lifting in a session, the more the mood is enhanced and stress terminated (Bagchi, Nair and Sen 39). Understanding endorphins is key to acknowledging this benefit of weight-lifting. The body regulates how one feels using chemicals referred to as neurotransmitters, which are numerous but distinct in role within the human body as pointed out by Sprouse-Blum (70). Endorphin is a neurotransmitter. When released, they bind on to special receptors which trigger two actions. First, they block the pain neurotransmitters. Secondly, they catalyze the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter from the brain that is attributed to pleasure (Sprouse-Blum 70). As such, the endorphin stimulates the weight-lifter’s mind and improves their energy and alertness.
Some people attach low self-esteem to physical appearance (Liu and Latham 107). While weight-lifting assists to enhance a good physical shape, it as well assists one gain confidence, through the psychological fact that they can conquer the weight, and as such would be able to conquer their fears and low self- esteem. In physical appearance, weight-lifting contributes positively in a big way. Adhering to regular physical routines leads to desired athletic shape, thereby eliminating self-esteem factors related to appearance. Some people shun weight-lifting as a tedious aspect meant for those who want to build muscles. Weight-lifting is not entirely for muscle-building (Liu and Latham 107). The exercise assumes various forms such as power training, Olympic weight lifting, strength training and body sculpturing. The later is meant for toning down the body and is preferred by people who suffer from obese or low self esteem related to “bad physical appearance”.
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Loss of Body Fat
Villareal et. al. (1218) observes that weight-lifting builds muscle. Therefore, as lean muscles expand, metabolism equally increases. Higher metabolism rates translate to the lifter burning more calories throughout the day and not just during the weigh-lifting sessions. As an activity practiced by women and men, research indicates that for an average woman, strength training makes them strong, in addition to assisting them in weight management. Often, people try out different methods of losing weight before they resort to the efficient weight-lifting as observed by Villareal et. al. (1219). Some of these schemes which are mythical range from absconding food, consistently taking lemon juice and eating snacks and fruits only.
Decreasing the Risk of Osteoporosis
Lifting weights strengthens muscles while at the same time making bones firmer (Villareal 1221). The exercise elevates the density of the bone structure. This in turn minimizes chances of getting a fracture or worse, the bone breaking. Studies have also indicated that weight-lifting can enhance the density of the spinal bone (Villareal 1221). This leads to not only a strong but also healthy spine. Connective tissues or joint strength in those who do weight training is boosted. Good tendons, ligaments and strong joints can only be achieved through weight training; this prevents injuries and relieves pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Low Injury and Low Intensity Risks
In comparison with cycling, jogging and other exercise methods, weight-lifting techniques such as bench pressing, squatting and dead-lifting appear more like wishing for death than a beneficial discipline. When one does weight-lifting, the risks of injury appear to be elevated significantly as compared to other forms of exercise. In a study conducted through reviewing 20 studies, it was indicated that bodybuilding ranked low in terms of injuries (Villareal 12224). It came out as producing only 1 injury per 1000 training hours. It was also concluded that most injuries caused while weight-lifting are only minor ones such as muscle or joint pains. These kinds of injuries do not call for special medical attention and can be easily treated at home or die naturally. Others disappear as one gets sufficient rest. Even though more intense weight-training displayed more frequent injury rates, they were not as bad as compared to other exercise forms, producing only 3 injuries in 1000 training hours (Villareal 1225). These indicated rates, as compared to accidents that occur during cycling, boxing and other forms of exercises, are low.
While weight-lifting is associated with many advantages, the exercise also portrays some cons.
Exposure to Muscle Enhancers
A good number of weight-lifters practice to enhance their muscle or strength (Bishop, Jones and Woods 1018). Achievement of results varies for different people, depending on one’s physical response rate. Supplements and steroids are easily opted for when trainers do not achieve the desired results. While supplements are not unhealthy (but are nevertheless manufactured medicines), steroids have bad side effects that might last a life-time. Anabolic steroids, for instance, are readily available in gyms globally (Bishop et. al. 1019). These substances resemble the androgenic hormones of human beings, for example testosterone. Professional muscle-builders as well as those who do weight-lifting as a hobby ingest the drugs while aiming at achieving the best results.
A Costly Affair
Weight-lifting is an expensive deal. Professional weight-lifters for instance, have to adhere to special types of diets which are expensive to the common citizen (Thompson 9). These types of food have to be consumed consistently so as to maintain the required body shape. Athletes who are not under sponsorship find it difficult to maintain their lifestyle. In addition to this, weight-lifting machinery is expensive to acquire if one is to set-up the equipment at home, considering the additional cost of a personal trainer. Moreover, gym sessions averagely cost a lot for a serious weight-lifter.
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Setting up the weights and lifting them is a long process as compared to other forms of exercise. For example, during jogging, one only has to wear their gear and set out on foot. On the other hand, in gym sessions, in most instances people have to share the same weight while alternating in between. In fact, weights cannot be lifted continuously because one has to rest in between as opposed to other exercises.
Weight-lifting is a rigorous exercise which leads to dehydration. Distinct from other forms of exercise, one does not easily realize they are getting dehydrated during weight-lifting until they get drowsy or dizzy. Prolonged dehydration is unhealthy to the human body as observed by Sprouse-Blum et. al. (70).
Weight lifting, a practice which has been in existence for a long time, exhibits both merits and demerits. The exercise is known to lead to improvement of self-esteem, loss of body fat, reduction in risks of getting diagnosed with Osteoporosis and low injury risk. However, weight lifting also has its adverse side which entails the fact that it is costly and time-consuming, and can lead to a form of dehydration which is difficult to realize. Moreover, the vice exposes its adherents to harmful drugs in the name of enhancing results.
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- Bagchi, Debasis, Sreejayan Nair, and Chandan K. Sen, eds. Nutrition and enhanced sports performance: Muscle building, endurance, and strength. Academic Press, 2013: 37-41.
- Bishop, Phillip A., Eric Jones, and A. Krista Woods. “Recovery from training: a brief review: brief review.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22.3 (2008): 1015-1024.
- Liu, Chiung‐ju, and Nancy K. Latham. “Progressive resistance strength training for improving physical function in older adults.” The Cochrane Library (2009): 101-123.
- Sprouse-Blum, Adam S., et al. “Understanding endorphins and their importance in pain management.” Hawaii medical journal 69.3 (2010): 70.
- Thompson, Walter R. “Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2017.” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 20.6 (2016): 8-17.
- Villareal, Dennis T., et al. “Weight loss, exercise, or both and physical function in obese older adults.” New England Journal of Medicine 364.13 (2011): 1218-1229.