Fact: When it comes to women’s health and fitness, the benefits of weight training cannot be overstated.
Fact: The number of women reaping those weight training benefits is unfortunately, surprisingly underwhelming.
The Benefits of Weight Training
Characteristically, too many women bypass the weight room on their way to their favorite cardio workout. It may be partially due to the myth that lifting weights will bring out their inner Schwarzenegger. For the record, yes, resistance training with weights will strengthen and tone your muscles. No, you will not be entering the Mr. Universe competition any time soon.
Not only is the list of weight training benefits compelling, the list of risks associated with allowing strength and muscle mass to dwindle as we age is equally worthy of note. The truth is, women neglect weight training at their own peril.
Review this list of weight training benefits and get motivated to start swinging those kettleballs!
1. A Losing—and Winning Equation
Studies show the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months can lose 3.5 pounds of fat while gaining nearly two pounds of lean muscle. With an increase in lean muscle comes a metabolism boost that increases the calories you burn each day. It’s a lose/win result.
2. You Will Be Incredible, Not the Incredible Hulk
As previously stated, unlike men, women do not typically bulk up from strength training. We simply do not have enough of the hormone that causes muscles to enlarge that dramatically. But, you can expect muscles that are toned and sculpted with definition. The incredible woman. Not the Incredible Hulk.
3. Make No Bones About It! Weight Training Fights Osteoporosis
Lifting weights enhances bone remodeling and can be an important ally in the fight against osteoporosis. Studies have shown that 6 months of weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by up to 13%. The earlier the start, the better chance of preventing the bone loss that accompanies estrogen depletion as women age.
4. Run a Little Faster, Jump a Little Higher
Whatever your athletic passion, weight training can enhance your performance. If you’re a golfer, you can aspire to drive the ball a little farther. Skiers can expect improved technique and fewer injuries. Cyclists will increase their stamina. You’re already super. Weight training can make you a superstar.
5. Live Stronger
Strength is independence. It’s as simple as that. One of the most practical benefits of weight training is increasing your ability to function in the world. Whether you are lifting groceries, hauling suitcases or moving furniture, you will not have to depend on others for assistance.
6. All Gain. Less Pain
As your muscles gain strength through weight training, they will better support and stabilize your joints. The result is a double bonus: Lower risk of injury and decreased joint pain. Working specifically on weak back muscles can go a long way toward alleviating or even eliminating the aggravating back pain that keep us off the court, course, or track or just gets in the way of our good time.
7. Keep Your Heart Happy and Healthy
You might be surprised to learn that one of the benefits of weight training is improved heart health. While you are going through your weight training routine, you are actually lowering your LDL cholesterol, (you want that), increasing your HDL cholesterol (you want that too), and lowering your blood pressure. (You definitely want that). For maximum results, a combined weight training and cardio program is your best bet.
8. Lift to Fight Diabetes
One of the lesser known benefits of weight training is its impact on sugar processing. Increasing the body’s glucose efficiency may lower our risk of diabetes. Who knew?
9. You’re Not Getting Older, You’re Getting Stronger
Whether you are young, or young at heart, makes no difference. When it comes to the benefits of weight training, you’re never too late to start. Research confirms that even women in their 70’s and 80’s can make significant strides that positively impact their quality of life. What are you waiting for?
10. Lifting Weights—and Spirits
Weight training is about more than strengthening the body. It is also a secret weapon in the fight against depression, proven to be more effective in some cases than counseling. Women who strength train gain confidence and a feeling of accomplishment that is every bit as empowering as physical strength.
For a fitness regimen that is both balanced and beneficial, integrate regular weight training sessions into your workout schedule. For first timers, it’s not a bad idea to work with a trainer to design a personalized weight training program that will be safe and effective for you or try a group fitness class that incorporates strength training, such as BODYSHRED. Once you step into the weight room and hoist a few, you’ll soon be toasting the newly strengthened and sculpted you.