Many women might say that lifting weights makes them look masculine and is only for men. When approaching some of my friends and I ask them about their weight loss journeys, they‘ll tell me about the cardio programs they’re doing along with the nutritional things about their diet that they’ve changed.
At the mention of weight lifting, muscle building, or strength training, they’ll scrunch up their noses and nearly shut down. What they don’t know that strength training is important for a woman’s body, and not just one that wants to lose weight.
There are six benefits to gaining muscle. These benefit women by doing the following:
ONE: Improved Bone Density
Although women have a higher chance of this when over the age of 65, it is important to start strengthening those bones now when it’s easier.
Here are some statistics for you.
- Out of 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 80% are women.
- Approximately 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis
- Women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men.
If that doesn’t change your mind about strength training, broken bones should! Estrogen in women protects bones, but this protection is reduced significantly when women reach menopause. This also creates a higher risk for osteoporosis.
TWO: Higher Metabolism
Have you ever heard you and your girlfriends talking about their metabolisms? How it’s harder for them because they have a low one, that they’ll never be able to eat bread or cookies like their athletic sons. Or maybe, they’ll mention how a slow metabolism completely shots your health? First, let’s define what a metabolism is.
Your metabolism is defined as “the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life.” While high metabolisms make a person more energized, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have an easier time losing weight.
People with higher metabolisms have trouble gaining weight and sustaining their it because they have to eat so much. If we’re one of the 1 in 3 Americans that are obese, it makes sense why we aren’t concerned with our alter egos that can’t gain weight!
There are some downsides to having a high metabolism. They may include
- You’re more peckish or hungry more often
- Your periods are irregular even when you’re not pregnant
- You’re urinating more often than usual
- You have a higher body temperature, even when sitting
So why would you want a higher metabolism, then?
- Your body may burn calories at a higher rate
- You’ll get to eat more food to gain or sustain your weight
THREE: Improved Heart Health
It’s no secret what improved heart health can do for your body. Can we say lowered blood pressure, lower risk for type two diabetes? Here are some specific things physical exercise through weight lifting can do for a woman’s body:
- It strengthens your heart and lowers the risk of coronary heart disease
- You’ll benefit from a lower blood pressure
- It can improve and manage degrees of cholesterol and other fats in the blood
- Aids in your body’s competence to manage blood sugar and insulin levels
- Lowers your risk for type two diabetes
- Can help you maintain a healthy weight
- Reduces the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP in your body (Which can be a sign of inflammation
FOUR: Improved Confidence and Mood
Have you ever felt better when you’ve gotten up earlier? How about when you’ve eaten something good for your body, or gotten a task done when you’ve put something off? Adding weight lifting to your exercise regimen has been shown to improve not only your mood but your confidence.
A study published in the June issue of JAMA Psychiatry attested to the benefit of improved depressive state on clinical trials affecting more than 1,800 people. It was found that people with mild to moderate depression who did resistance training two more days a week saw powerful reductions in their symptoms, compared with people who did not.
Imagine coupling this with a new regimen of getting up earlier, having more time in your day, and getting better sleep. You’ll be pretty much invisible.
FIVE: Improved Sleep
Sleep is something we all can benefit from. If not a few extra winks in the afternoon, more sleep at night will help your overall feelings during the day, lessen the feelings of restlessness and help you avoid your afternoon slump.
We might think of hygiene is flossing before going to bed, but this goes much m deeper than that.
Good sleep hygiene means preparing a routine that you do every night before bed. this would include
- Setting a regular bedtime (For you AND your kids)
- Limiting food consumption to a certain time (and not so close to bedtime)
- Stopping phone usage an hour before bed
- Having your room dark and conducive to sleep
9 individuals were tested and studied, and the results showed that sleep latency went down and patients woke up earlier than their usual time. It was also shown that their quality of sleep significantly increased compared to past sleep cycles.
SIX: Improved Brain functioning
Ever find yourself forgetting things?
It was found that the participants that had the best scores were the ones that retained their strength. Only the scores for the groups who did stretching exercises declined the most.
What You Can Do
So what can you do so you can enjoy the benefits of getting stronger, getting better sleep, and overall living a healthier life? These are four simple weight exercises that can be performed by beginners that will help you start living out the benefits of strength training.
Exercise One: Chest Press
This upper body strength exercise will help you with daily activities such as pushing heavy doors or even shopping carts. It’s also helpful for sports such as swimming, tennis, and baseball.
Exercise Two: Lunges
- Core stability
- Better spine health
Exercise Three: Lying chest fly
- Strengthens several muscles at once
- Versatility and convenience
- Adjustable while using the bench and adds variety to your workout
Exercise four: Reverse fly
- Reduced shoulder/neck discomfort
- Rear shoulders and upper back development
- Improved posture and balance
There are several benefits to weight lifting. Not only will they it make you stronger and help you lose weight, but it can also improve your quality of life by aiding in the treatment of depression, improving sleep, and improving bone health.
How do you feel about strength training?