How many times have we heard from women “I don’t need to lift weights to look like the hulk.” It’s time to put your assumptions aside, cut down on your hour-long treadmill runs and understand the benefits of weight training.
Many young women take common everyday movements for granted, such as walking up and down flights of stairs or lifting a baby or a heavy box. However, as we age, our lives become more sedentary, making it a reason why lifting to build and maintain muscle strength is key to ease of mobility later in life. Here are a few other reasons it’s important for women to hit the weights a few times each week:
- Increase bone density- Women have smaller, thinner bones than men from the start, and after menopause they lose estrogen, a hormone that protects bones. Weight training forces the bones to bear more weight, which in exercise, is a good thing, because it makes the bones stronger and less likely to breakdown, losing density.
- Lower disease risk- Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease drop, according to a recent study.
- Burn fat- Your body burns fat for up to 24 hours post workout, because lifting causes an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.
- Reduce injury risk and pain- Strengthening your muscles also tones up your joints and ligaments as well. When you’re stronger, you have a less likely chance of hurting yourself and being in pain.
- Feel better- Going to the gym in general is a stress reliever and adding weights to your routine a few times each week will not only mentally make you feel more alert and better focused during the day, but you’ll physically feel better and healthier.
And don’t worry. You will never “bulk up like a man,” because women have less testosterone than men, and testosterone is the primary muscle growth inducer.
If you’re new to weight training, sign up with a personal trainer who can gauge your abilities and level of strength so you don’t hurt yourself by lifting too heavy.