8 REASONS WOMEN SHOULD LIFT WEIGHTS
The weights area at the gym is no longer a male dominated zone. At any time of the day you will find women absolutely owning the resistance training equipment. I love how the next generation of young women value strength and muscle tone over being skinny. Slowly, misconceptions about women lifting weights are diminishing. If you lift weights you won’t look like a man. You won’t look like a female bodybuilder, this takes extreme dedication, sacrifice and commitment. You won’t become big and bulky. You won’t have increased facial hair. You will, however, look healthy, sculpted and hold yourself better. More importantly, is what weightlifting does to you internally. Here are 8 amazing benefits of strength training for women:
As we age, our metabolism naturally decreases. The more muscle mass our body has the higher our daily Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is the number of calories your body needs to function. If you sit on the couch all day and do nothing your body still needs fuel to stay alive, this is your BMR. Muscle requires constant energy, to sustain itself. The bigger the muscle mass, the more energy needed, therefore an increase in your BMR.
2 Improves bone density.
Weight training places your bones under micro stress. Our body is extremely smart, as our bones experience this stress, we repair them to be stronger. Bone density is extremely important as we age to reduce the chances of osteoporosis. It is never too late to start improving your bone health.
3 Makes everyday movements easier.
Have you ever put your back out doing something simple like picking up a bag of groceries or bending to unload the dishwasher? When you increase your strength, these everyday tasks simply feel easier. Regular weight training helps your body activate and strengthen the muscles needed to bend, lift, carry, push and pull. Picking up the kids toys off the floor will never have felt so easy.
4 Reduces back pain.
Do you ever feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders at the end of the day? As we age, we tend to hunch our shoulders more, especially for women who have spent years working at a desk and/or being pregnant and breastfeeding. Our back becomes weak and overstretched. As we strengthen our back muscles our shoulders are pulled back and we become more open in the chest, we may even seem a little taller. With the spine in a more neutral position, you will find that heavy feeling on your shoulders diminishes.
5 Increases glute strength.
Big, round, perky butts are definitely “in” right now. Besides the appearance factor, strong glutes are the foundation to almost everything else going on in your body. The glutes are the biggest muscle group. When they are weak it results in overuse of another muscle, a smaller muscle that’s not equipped to handle the load. So, often pain in another area comes back to poor glute activation and strength. Get your glutes firing before lifting any weight by doing some glute bridges with a resistance band around your thighs.
6 The after burn.
A weight training session may not feel like you’ve burnt a lot of calories compared to a high intensity cardio workout. Where the benefit comes in though, is in the recovery. Lifting weights creates micro tears in our muscles. Our muscle then needs to repair itself, and like with bone density, it will repair itself stronger than before. For the 24 hours after a resistance training workout our body draws energy (calories) to repair the muscle. This is from whatever glucose stores we have available. If we are in a calorie deficit for that day our body will convert fat stores into glucose for energy. Be mindful that our body repairs itself during sleep, it is important to get 7-9 hours of sleep after a heavy weight session.
7 Reduces stress and enhances mood.
One of the lesser known benefits of resistance training, is that it raises endorphins. Exercises that involve more than one muscle group - compound exercises – typically result a higher production of these stress reducing, feel good hormones.
8 Improves blood sugar.
Recent research has found that increased muscle mass helps in the prevention of insulin resistance. With a higher demand for energy, the body becomes more efficient at removing glucose from the blood stream.
Stay tuned, next month I will discuss where to begin, which exercises give you the best bang for your buck and the top 10 tips for new lifters.
In the meantime, if you are keen to get started on resistance training, you are welcome to message me to arrange a free trial training session. I am available to come to you or can train in a park in Ryde and surrounding areas.
Sarah Hanna Fitness
M: 0405 417 388