The Benefits of Weight Training for Women
Resistance training, also known as weight or strength training, is the use of resistance to build strength. This type of training can have lots of benefits including improving your bone and joint function, as well as density. In addition to that, it will strengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments, and help increase your heart and lung capacity. Other benefits include increasing your metabolism (the amount of energy we burn throughout the day) and improving your posture and body composition.
It’s a popular but unfounded myth that if women train with weights that they will get bulky. Many women still have an irrational fear of being overly muscular which results in them totally avoiding resistance training. This really isn’t the case! The hormone responsible for a large increase in muscle mass is testosterone. Females carry around 20 per cent less testosterone then men; so this means that as women we do not have the hormonal support to gain muscle mass like men. Therefore, it makes it extremely difficult to become ‘bulky’ and big. It can take lifting weights five or six days a week, plus a lot of eating, for women to increase their levels of lean muscle. Simply adding an extra day of strength training or grabbing the heavier dumbbells will not automatically cause a woman to become a muscle-bound she-hulk! You will not get bulky from picking up heavy things!! All that will happen is that your muscles will get stronger!
Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, running, cycling and using a cross trainer are beneficial for improving your heart health, helping to control your weight, reducing the risk of disease and improving your state of mind as you release endorphins but can become boring and you may reach a plateau. To get past this, you should consider introducing some resistance training into your life!
Lifting weights helps to increase your metabolism for longer, even after you finish your workout. Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout there is more excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.
When you increase your muscle mass, you boost your resting metabolism, which then increases the amount of calories burnt even when resting. Generally, for each pound of muscle you gain you can burn between 35 and 50 extra calories each day. Research has also found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density, and coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium this can help defend against osteoporosis.We lose muscle as we age, by the time we reach 70 we only have around 50 to 55 per cent of our muscle mass left which results in us feeling weak and tired as we age. We can rebuild some of what we have lost or, even better, prevent the loss to avoid health issues as we age by using resistance training.
Weight training also increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve sports performance.
Remember that exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increased in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one – trust me, I know!