Why Women Should Lift Weights
There are more myths and misconceptions about strength training than any other area of fitness. While research continues to uncover more and more reasons why working out with weights is good for you, many women continue to avoid resistance training for fear of developing muscles of herculean proportions.
We know that increasing and maintaining adequate muscle mass is one of the best ways to keep body fat at bay and to improve overall fitness, particularly as we age. We also know that weight lifting is the best way to build muscle mass. Still, the number of women who actually participate in any formal or consistent weight-training workout is still extremely low. Most women who exercise are spending most of their gym time on cardio exercise. Whatever your reason for avoiding the weights, if you are a women, here are 10 reasons why you need to take strength training seriously.
1. Physical Strength
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent on others for assistance in daily living. If your maximum strength is increased your daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury. Research studies have shown that moderate weight training can increase a women’s strength by 30-50 percent and women can also develop their strength at the same rate as men.
2. Lose Body Fat
A recent study found that the average woman who strength trains 2-3 times a week for 2 months will gain nearly 2 lbs of muscle and will lose 3.5 lbs of fat. In addition, as your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism and you burn more calories all day long. In general, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35-50 more calories each day. That can really start to add up!!
3. Gain strength without BULK
Many women fear that by strength training they will look like a man or become too big and bulky. This is not true. Research has found that unlike men, women typically don’t gain significant (Hercules muscles) size from strength training. Because compared to men, women have 10-30 times LESS of the hormones that cause muscle volume. You will however, produce muscle definition and that toned look.
4. Decrease Your Risk of Osteoporosis
As we age, loss of bone density becomes a high concern for women. Weight training can increase bone density and enhance bone modeling by 13% in 6 months. Paired with an appropriate amount of calcium, this can be a woman’s best defense against osteoporosis.
5. Improve Physical Performance
Time and time again, research has been done that proves that strength training improves athletic ability. Golfers see an increase in their driving power, cyclists are able to continue for longer periods of time with less fatigue, and skiers can improve their technique and reduce injuries. No matter what sport you play, strength training has been shown to improve your overall performance and decrease your risk of injury.
6. Reduction in Back Pain, Arthritis, and your Risk for Serious Injury.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also build stronger connective tissue and increase join stability. This acts to reinforce the joins and can help prevent future injury. Many studies have been done that showed strengthening your low-back muscles can successfully eliminate or alleviate low-back pain. Makes sense, right?! Other studies have suggested that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and further strengthen the joints.
7. Reducing your Risk of Heart Disease
Weight training can improve cardiovascular health by decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. When cardio exercises are added to weight training these benefits are significantly increased.
8. Reducing your Risk of Diabetes
Weight training can improve the way the body processes sugar, which as a result can reduce your risk of diabetes. The onset of adult diabetes is a growing problem for both men and women. Research has shown that weight training can increase your glucose utilization in the body by 23% in only four months.
9. You’re Never to Old
Women in there 70’s and 80’s have built up significant strength through weight training. Strength improvements are possible at any age.
10. Improve your Attitude and Fight Depression
A previous study was done that found 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who workout and strength train commonly note feeling more confident and capable as a result of their training program. All factors are important when fighting depression.