Some women shy away from lifting weights. When they do head over to the weight rack, they lift weights that aren’t heavy enough to really challenge their muscles. The reason? Some fear it will make them bulky or destroy their feminine shape. Others are intimidated by the idea of lifting a barbell or dumbbell or fear they’ll look like a weakling if they try. The reality is women don’t have the hormonal makeup to develop large muscles. Even with heavy weightlifting to failure, women develop firm muscles, not bulk. Weight training is a form of exercise that all women need. Here’s why.
Weight Training Helps Fight the Battle of the Bulge
The more lean body mass a woman carries on her frame, the faster her metabolism. Research shows that a woman will burn more calories per day for each pound of muscle she adds to her frame. Adding lean body mass means eating more without gaining body fat. Who doesn’t want that?
Muscle Mass Decreases with Age|
Both men and women lose muscle as they age. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, so this partially explains why people put on weight as they get older. Muscle mass starts to decline by the age of 30 and drops by about 1% per year thereafter. By the time a woman reaches menopause, she’s lost a significant amount of muscle tissue.
The good news is this. A woman can slow down this decline by doing regular weight training. The best way to do it is to lift weights heavy enough to be a challenge. This builds strength and lean body mass. Lifting lighter weights only builds muscle endurance.
It Wards Off Osteoporosis
Weight training preserves bone mass and can even boost bone density. The stimulus for bone building is the pull of the muscle on the bone with each contraction. Again, lifting heavier weights is more effective for building bone density than using lighter ones. Osteoporosis is a common problem in women as they age, and one prescription for preserving bone density is weight training.
Weight Training is Empowering
Weight lifting builds external strength, but it also builds internal power by boosting confidence and self-esteem. It’s empowering when a woman can bench press her own weight. Research also shows weight training helps to relieve anxiety and depression in some people.
Weight Lifting Reduces the Risk of Certain Diseases
Aerobic exercise isn’t the only form of exercise to reduce the risk of heart disease. Weight training lowers blood pressure over time by up to 4%. This reduction in blood pressure lowers the risk of heart disease, a disease common in both men and women. Building lean body mass also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. Weight training can also help diabetics control their blood sugar levels.
Get Healthy and Empowered By Lifting Heavier
Most women can handle heavier weights than they choose to lift. With all the benefits that come from a challenging strength training workout. This is why we developed the 1RM testing system for our STS series. Isn’t it time to pick up a heavier weight?
Research News at Tufts “Refining the Exercise Prescription to Maintain Muscle Power as We Age”
Curtin University School of Physical Therapy. “Resistance Training is Essential to Stop the Progression of, or Reverse Osteoporosis!”
Hypertension. 2000 Mar;35(3):838-43.
Idea Fitness. “Why Women Need Weight Training”
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