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The Top 5 Benefits of Strength Training for Women

Many women are far too afraid to even look at a weight rack for fear that they might bulk up instantaneously. There is also a fear amongst women that they are not strong enough to engage in such activities. However, this is far from the truth and it is a large misconception that women should not lift weights. Despite mainstream belief, pumping iron a couple of times a week will not only help to slim you down, it can also transform your body and your health. The benefits of weight training can last for hours after you train and can help to boost your mood all day.

Increasingly, we are seeing a shift in general consensus, with more women showing interest in, and trying resistance training. Weightlifting is NOT just for athletes or bodybuilders. It is an extremely beneficial way of training and has great health benefits for everyone and here’s why:

1. Lose Body Fat

Weight training builds lean muscle, which in turn increases metabolism. A higher metabolism translates into more calories burnt throughout the day. Weight training will increase your lean muscle mass and decrease your body fat. The more lean muscle mass you have the more efficient your body becomes at burning fat. High levels of body fat are not good for you at any age. Preserving a healthy weight is an important factor in preventing many diseases, particularly those that come with aging populations.

2. Lifting weights does not mean that you will become big and bulky

I completely understand why many women avoid weights for fear of becoming super bulky. It can of course make you bulk up, however only if you do specific training and follow a strict diet. These women eat, train and take certain supplements in order to look like that.

The truth is when you pick up heavy objects, your muscles do get stronger (this doesn’t mean bigger!), you will burn more fat, and you will achieve that toned look.

3. Decrease Risk of Osteoporosis

Weight training strengthens more than just your muscles, it also strengthens your bones. It has shown to increase bone density, which decreases the chances of fractures or broken bones. Our bone mass begins to slowly decline with age, and women are at a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men. Weight training assists in building and maintaining a healthy bone density. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends weight training two to three times per week.

4. Reduce Risk of Injury

This may sound like an oxymoron! However, if you perform weight training exercises with correct form you certainly don’t need to have any worry about getting injured in the gym. Furthermore, weight training will help to injury proof your body as it builds strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to avoid injury and can help to ease pain from osteoarthritis.

5. Boosts Mental Strength

One of the most undervalued benefits of weight training are the mental benefits. As they say a healthy body means a healthy mind, this also will naturally lead to increased confidence.

Exercise and weight- training release magic potions, known as endorphins, in our bodies. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that counteract pain, perk up your mood, and fight off depression. Increased endorphins naturally leads to decreased stress and anxiety. You must remain committed to a weight training program in order to experience these benefits regularly which will also help to maintain a more balanced you.

Weight training offers so many reasons to feel good about yourself—looking healthier, getting fitter and stronger, decreasing chances of disease, and reaching exercise goals.

Why is it particularly beneficial for older women?

Exercise is vital for older women, and strength training can be particularly beneficial. The aging process leads to deterioration of muscles and bones, flexibility is lost and causes metabolism to slow down. Regular exercise can fight the speed of the aging process. Weight training takes on a new significance in older populations, it is no longer about big biceps or six packs, but the goal is to maintain a strong and healthy body which is less prone to injuries and illnesses.

Strength work plays a critical role in keeping our bones strong. This is very important for women who have gone through menopause. As women’s levels of oestrogen drop so does their bone density, this puts them at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.

New to weight training? Here are a couple of sample workouts for you!

Warm Up (pick and choose from the list below – or combine a couple)

- 5 minutes brisk walk

- 5 -10 minutes cycling on a stationary bike

- 5 minutes gentle row

Workout 1

3-5 rounds of the following:

20 seconds plank on hands 10 Squats 12 Reverse Lunges (6 per side) 10 Seated Overhead Press 12 Dumbbell Rows

Workout 2

3-5 rounds of the following:

10 Glute Bridges 10 Sit Ups 10 Push Ups 10 Single Leg Squats (5 per side) 1 minute on the bicycle in between rounds

Workout 3

3-5 rounds of the following:

8 Ring Rows 10 Sit Ups 8 Single Kettlebell/Dumbbell Deadlift 10 Kettlebell/ Dumbbell Goblet Squat 45 seconds on the rower mid intensity

Always finish your workout with a gentle cool down – a 2-3 minute walk is always a nice option – and some gentle stretching.


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