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Ready to hit the gym? Most gym-goers make a beeline for the treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stair climbers. But, did you know that another gym activity---lifting weights---can give you, even more, health benefits? Though lifting weights might not be as popular as doing cardio, it packs a serious punch. Read on for the top 20 reasons you should make weightlifting a feature of your exercise program!

It's easy to see your progress

Unlike some other types of exercise, with weightlifting, you'll definitely know when you're improving, and this will make you want to do it even more! Though the first few weeks can be hard, one day (probably when you don't expect it), you'll pick up a weight that used to be hard for you to lift, and it'll feel light. That kind of clear reward will make you love working out!

You'll be less prone to injury

weight lifting injury

Lifting weights builds muscle mass, gives you more bone density, and helps you have a better sense of balance. This way, you'll be less likely to fall, and if you do, you'll be less likely to break a bone or otherwise hurt yourself (link here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006).

You'll burn more fat

build muscles and burn fat

Since lifting builds muscle mass, that also means you'll burn more fat overall and shed more weight. Research shows that the boost in muscle that you get from lifting may even help you burn more fat than cardio workouts (link here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/22/weight-lifting-belly-fat_n_6367756.html).

You'll burn more calories, with less effort

Read more: Weightlifting: 20 Benefits for Mind and Body

New Year's resolutions kick into high gear on January 1st—actually, probably more like January 2nd. Gyms around the country are suddenly packed to the brim.

Resolutions have their own problems. According to data from the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people achieve their resolution goal. But also of concern is the time leading up to the new year.

So let's set the situation.

You plan to recommit to achieving your performance, fitness or aesthetic goal in the new year. But from Thanksgiving until yearend, you don't do all that much, since you foresee a lot of hard work ahead of you. Watching Christmas movies and indulging in holiday desserts sounds a lot better than hitting the gym and being careful about what you eat.

Your resolution deadline has become an excuse to forget about fitness and healthy eating. You say to yourself, "I'm not going to work out now because I'm going to get after it in January," or "I can eat an entire apple pie because I'm going to start eating healthy in the new year."

"I think people look at it like I can just hit the reset button in January," says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a registered dietitian based in the Cleveland area.

Ultimately, during period of more than a month, it's easy to take a massive step backward. You might lose some strength because you're not consistently challenging yourself, or you pack on a few extra pounds.

If you're like 92 percent of the people out there, this tendency becomes particularly problematic.

READ MORE...

When you first start a new fitness routine, you are energized and your motivation levels are at an all-time high. But over time, that motivation begins to wane and what used to seem easy to do (popping in that workout DVD, heading out for a walk or getting to the gym) is now like pulling teeth. Can you relate?

While eating right and cutting excess calories can help you lose weight, working out is an integral part to making sure that you maintain lean muscle mass, flood your body with those important feel-good endorphins, and improve your overall cardiovascular health. Regular exercise can also help you lose weight since it burns calories and fat.

So, if you're thinking of skipping a few workouts—don't! Just follow these motivational tips to keep your body moving today, tomorrow, next month—and beyond!

Motivation Tips to Work Out Today

Read more: How to Maintain Your Workout Motivation All Year Long

If you are overweight or obese, there are some powerful reasons to drop 10 percent of your body weight this year. Losing this amount of weight can significantly improve your health and well-being. It may not sound like a lot. In fact, most people trying to lose weight set much loftier goals for themselves, but unrealistic goals can often end in disaster.

A 10 percent goal is very doable...that's 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200; 25 pounds for a person whose scale reads 250; and 30 pounds trimmed from a 300-pound person.

Top Ten Benefits

So, what are the top ten health benefits you can expect after dropping 10 percent of your weight? In no particular order, they are:

10. Better blood pressure

9. Improved heart health and lower cholesterol levels

8. Decreased risk for diabetes

7. Enhanced sex life

Read more: Top 10 Reasons to Drop 10

Do you start off the year with hopeful thoughts about what you want in months ahead? January brings feelings of a clean slate, knowing we get to start again. We are determined to make the upcoming year the best one yet.

According to several research surveys, approximately 50% of Americans make resolutions every year. Losing weight, getting organized, sticking to a budget, exercising more and quitting smoking are some of the most common resolutions reported. Sadly, these same surveys estimate that by the end of January, most people are inconsistent at sticking to their resolutions, and by mid-February as many as 85% will fail or give up completely.

Why is it that our best thoughts, ideas and intentions are so quickly abandoned? More important, is there anything we can do differently to change the outcome?

Read more: Top 10 Signs You'll Fail to Reach Your Resolutions

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