Weightlifting isn’t just for the boys. Read on to discover why women should introduce resistance training into their workouts…
If you look around a gym, chances are that you will find plenty of women on the treadmills and cross-trainers. But how many are in the weight room?
Now, cardio is great. It’s a fantastic workout for the most important muscle of all – the heart. But dodging the weight room means that many women are missing out on the benefits of resistance training.
This could stem from a fear of ‘bulking up’, not knowing proper technique or being intimidated by the other users of the weight room. But finding a good PT who understands strength training for women can help you get started. Alternatively, take a gal pal to keep you company.
And remember: women don’t produce the same amounts of testosterone as men, so if you’re worried about looking like a bodybuilder, don’t be! Two or three resistance sessions a week will make you stronger and fitter, but they won’t turn you into The Hulk.
With that in mind, let’s go a little deeper into why strength training should be a vital part of a woman’s workout regime.
Strength training can protect your future
In old age, many women are faced with osteoporosis, a condition that makes your bones weak and brittle. From the age of 30, women begin to lose bone density, which increases the risk of developing the condition.
But studies have shown that strength training can slow this loss and help to build bone density. This is because bone is a living tissue, which means it responds to stress by becoming stronger – which is exactly what happens when women lift weights.
Weightlifting also targets the bones that are more vulnerable to fracture, such as the hips, wrists and spine. By strengthening the bones in these areas, you can prevent debilitating breaks.
Strength training can also reduce the likelihood of falls happening in the first place. Weightlifting works your fast-twitch muscle fibres, which can help you to balance and maintain coordination.
So much for your body, but what about your brain?
Research has suggested that resistance training can help to improve cognitive function. In a study of those with mild cognitive impairment, a twice weekly weight training regimen over 6 months led to significantly better memory and reasoning compared with participants in a control group. Even better, these benefits were retained at the 12-month marker.
Weightlifting can improve your present
Weightlifting can help Future You, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t reap any benefits right now.
For instance, if you’re looking to trim the pounds, strength training can be an important component.
Resistance training boosts your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is an important contributor to your daily energy expenditure. Studies have shown that functional resistance training can boost BMR for up to 48 hours after exercise. This means that, unlike cardio, your strength workout will enable you to burn energy even after you stop exercising.
Resistance workouts can give your mood a lift too.
A systematic review of studies on strength training found that it reduced anxiety in healthy adults and symptoms of depression in diagnosed cases. Another study carried out among mid-life and older rural women also found that the women doing strength training had improved body image, better health-related quality of life and greater satisfaction.
If that’s not enough weightlifting motivation, what is?
Time to start strength training!
Hopefully you now have some weightlifting motivation and are keen to start strength training.
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You should also check out our Recovery intra-workout drink, which can give you all the EAAs and BCAAs you need to protect your stronger body.