Women who strength train have more confidence, better focus, and increased energy. Weightlifting has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. It can help women trim fat and gain a slender, toned body.
Many women worry that if they lift weights, they’ll add bulk or look less feminine. But the huge, bulging muscles on male bodybuilders require large amounts of a hormone called testosterone. Women have 5-10% as much testosterone as men. The amazing female body can build strength and look leaner, not heavier.
These are five benefits of women lifting weights.
1. Toning and Weight Loss
For women, tighter muscles mean a sleeker, slimmer figure. Muscle is denser than fat, and each pound of lean muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat — in the same way that one pound of meat takes up less space than a pound of marshmallows.
To top it off, muscle burns calories just by existing. We all burn a certain number of calories each day to power basic body functions such as breathing, but different types of tissue take different amounts of calories to maintain. Muscle burns five times more calories than the same amount of fat. Strength training therefore revs up our metabolism, both at rest and during exercise.
As we age, we lose about four to six pounds of muscle per decade, which means our resting metabolism drops by two to three percent. Strength training can change those numbers. In a recent study, women who completed a strength training workout two to three times a week gained two pounds of muscle and lost three and a half pounds of fat.
Weightlifting is also more effective at burning intra-abdominal (belly) fat than cardio alone. Losing belly fat not only makes you look trim, but it also reduces your risk of diabetes and certain cancers.
2. Athleticism and Health
When we’ve hit a plateau in cardio work and are no longer seeing progress, stronger muscles can power a breakthrough to the next level. Whether your sport of choice is golfing, dancing, or tennis, stronger muscles equal greater success. With stronger muscles, you’ll run faster, swim longer, hike further, or blow them all away on the slopes.
Strength training can also refine your posture and body mechanics and help you develop better balance and coordination. Any of these improvements can make your cardio workouts more effective because you’ll be better able to move with proper form. The combination of improved posture, body mechanics, balance, and coordination will broaden the range of cardio workouts and sports you can perform skillfully.
Weightlifting also prevents injuries such as sprains and dislocations by strengthening the muscles and tendons that support your joints. Women who weightlift also have a higher bone mineral density, reducing their risk of bone injuries and of osteoporosis. Simply put, weightlifting gives you stronger bones, and stronger bones are less likely to break.
Strength training is good for the heart as well, and a better-functioning heart can improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. Weightlifting stimulates increased blood flow, which not only benefits your heart — it improves digestion and boosts immunity.
3. Power and Confidence
Daily tasks — carrying your child, hauling groceries into the house, or pulling decorations out of storage — are easier when you’re stronger. As the maximum weight you can lift during a workout gradually increases, physical tasks like hoisting luggage into an overhead compartment will be easier and less tiring. There is a poise and confidence that comes with decreasing your dependence on others, knowing that you can comfortably handle heavy lifting.
Strength training tends to shift the focus of exercise from appearance to ability. Rather than working out to look better or striving for a smaller number on the scale, you may find yourself exercising to become healthier, stronger, and more capable.
Strength training is empowering. When you achieve goals like performing a pullup or a set of “real” pushups, you discover your inner strength and learn to appreciate your body and the power in your own muscles. You walk away emboldened and ready for the next challenge, confident in your ability to overcome obstacles and accomplish what you set out to do.
4. Focus and Clarity
Weightlifting can increase your ability to focus at work and in day-to-day tasks. Many of the factors that hamper concentration, memory, and mental clarity can be remedied through strength training. Take stress for example. When we exercise, our brains release feel-good chemicals — endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine — that minimize feelings of discomfort and make us happier.
Sleep is key for mental sharpness, and strength training can help you fall asleep more quickly at night, wake less often, and get higher-quality sleep. Better sleep can also improve your quality of life and overall health. Many of the body’s restorative processes only occur during the deeper stages of sleep.
Many of the cardio programs out there drive you so hard you limp away feeling wrung out. Their purpose is to squeeze as many calories out of you as possible, so fatigue is a natural side effect. Lifting weights, on the other hand, tends to boost your energy and your spirits.
Success in strength training means gradual improvement in the number of times you can perform an exercise (repetitions or reps), the number of sets of reps you can do in one workout, or the amount of weight you can lift with good form. These gains come with careful, consistent effort that doesn’t leave you exhausted.
A successful weight training session will have you energized and ready to tackle the rest of your day. This sets you up for long-term success in your exercise program because it rewards your body and brain, and we tend to go back for more of what feels good.
Strength Training at Home
Reap the benefits of strength training from the comfort and privacy of home. At G&G Fitness, we supply a selection of the finest weightlifting equipment, from kettlebells and dumbbells to complete home gyms. Contact our home fitness experts today to find out how to get started with strength training in your own home.