Many women assume that lifting weights will make them bulky and masculine. For this reason, they can tend to stick with cardio and avoid pumping iron like the plague. However, strength training is actually extremely beneficial for women for a variety of reasons concerning both health and aesthetics. Read on to find out eight reasons why strength training is necessary for women.
1. It Strengthens The Bones
Women lose bone density as they get older. This can put you at risk of arthritis, osteoporosis and other bone-related health issues. One of the very best ways to prevent this is to conduct strength training regularly. More muscle mass means stronger, denser, and more supported bones.
If you are young, get started now! A regular routine of resistance and strength training could really save you from some serious bone-related issues as you get older. You don’t have to start with heavy weights and complex movements. Some simple dumbbell exercises such as overhead press, single-arm row and curls will suffice to get you started. Ask your local gym to get one of their trainers to sign you up and show you a good beginner’s routine.
2. It Creates Muscle Definition (Without bulk!)
First of all, let’s get this clear: you would have to lift very heavy weights and take lots of supplements and calories to get bulky. If you fear that you will become chunky and manly by doing strength training, put that fear out of your mind once and for all! Women have higher levels of estrogen, which stops the muscles from growing bulky.
Strength training helps to burn fat, and it strengthens and tones the muscles at the same time. By removing fat and building the muscle, you will start to see long and defined limbs, back and core. You can look forward to an elegant, athletic body with long lines and a toned appearance, as opposed to a bulky, stocky frame.
Another good alternative is to also try both Yoga and Pilates to see which works for you.
3. It Boosts The Metabolism
The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism works. The fast the metabolism, the more calories burned, and the greater the amount of fat lost. The great thing about strength training is that it keeps the metabolism working even as we rest, long after the workout itself. Women tend to carry more fat, and it can be difficult to shift. Boosting the metabolism is a great way to keep excess fat at bay.
4. It Helps To Reduce Injury And Pain
By strengthening the muscles and the tissues surrounding your joints, you are reducing the risk of injury. Keeping the connective tissues and muscles strong means you can practice correct form and avoid sports and leisure-related pain and mishaps. Many women have a busy life with lots of activity (kids, a strenuous job or active hobbies). A strong and supported musculoskeletal system can help to keep you healthy and pain-free as you juggle everything.
Besides strengthening your joints and muscle, weight training can also help to prevent breast cancer by 30%!! Also, check out our article on 8 foods you can eat to further reduce your risk of breast cancer.
5. It Helps To Regulate Weight
As mentioned above, strength training boosts the metabolism and helps to burn more calories during the day. With some high-intensity cardio added to a strength training plan, even more calories can be blasted, along with stored fat. Many women find that cardio and a healthy diet alone doesn’t quite get them to their desired weight goals. Adding strength training to the mix could be the perfect solution.
If you need an added boost for your weight loss efforts, check out our Ultra Omega Burn review, a weight loss supplement, which is made from Omega-7.
6. It Will Help With Cardio Exercise
This one is for both men and women. A strong core, glutes and quads will help with cardiovascular exercise, especially running. If your body is strong and stable, your running style will be too. This will help with speed, endurance and injury prevention. Goblet squats, hip thrusters and weighted lunges are a few simple moves to start with.
7. It Helps With Mood And Sense Of Accomplishment
Completing a strength training workout can leave you feeling strong, accomplished and proud. There’s something powerful about completing a set of perfectly-formed reps, or finding that you need a heavier weight than before. Cardio can sometimes make women feel as though they need to focus on “weight loss”, concerning themselves with a number on the scales. However, strength training has a way of adjusting the mindset to accomplishment rather than weight. After all, building muscle can make the number on the scales stay the same, or even go up. This means you can ignore the scales and take your visible muscle definition and improving technique as a sign of your progress.
8. It Keeps You Feeling (And Looking) Young
Feeling fit is one thing, but feeling strong is another. As we age, it can become harder to be active, even in everyday life. Nothing can make a woman feel her age more than struggling when standing up or finding she can’t lift as many bags as before. By keeping the muscles toned and strong, and the joints supported, you can enjoy more supple and able movements for longer. An older woman with a spring in her step and the strength and energy to do anything looks young. While a young woman who is struggling with simple tasks looks older than her years. You’ll feel young well into your later years by keeping your body strong and supported.
What You Need: Gym Or No Gym?
Not everyone has the time or money to join a gym. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of weight training at home with a few key tools. A set of dumbbells, resistance bands and ankle weights are affordable and effective. If you’re just beginning, you can achieve an effective resistance workout from home by using YouTube or googling a few simple workouts.
Once your strength builds, you’ll find yourself wanting and needed more of a challenge. Heavier weights, more comprehensive equipment and even machines can really get your strength rising and improving.
For these, you will need to join a gym. Kettlebells, a full set of dumbbells, squat racks, bars and machines will be at your disposal to use as you improve your technique and strength.
Don’t be put off by the notion that strength training might make you “bulky”, as it really won’t. It’s a great way to protect yourself from injury, bone-related health issues and weight problems. Strength training keeps the body safe, strong and the metabolism pumping all day long. Give yourself a break from long, hard cardio sessions all week and add a few weight-based workouts!
Mich is a 38-year-old semi-professional sports person who enjoys extreme ironing, drone photography and ferret racing. She is fit and disciplined, has a degree in sports science and has a severe phobia of cats.