Why Women Should Lift Weights
Think weightlifting is just for the boys? Think again!
Lifting weights can have a great impact on female health and there’s a good chance it will help you achieve your fitness goals too. Offering a range of benefits, almost everyone can enhance their fitness routine by adding weightlifting into their schedule.
Want to find out how lifting weights can help you? Take a look at our top five reasons why women should lift weights now…
1. Increased Bone Strength
Women typically experience bone loss and decreased bone density as they get older. This can increase the risk of developing certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis, and lead to pain and discomfort. When you lift weights, however, you’re engaging muscles and the tendons attached to them. Of course, tendons are attached to bone, as well as muscle, so using your body to lift weights will help to increase the strength of your bones too.
2. Better Heart Health
You’d think cardio exercise would be the best way to improve your cardiovascular health, right? Not necessarily. Although cardio can be a great way to improve heart health, weightlifting should play a role too.
When you’re lifting weights, each muscle contraction pushes blood back to the heart. This oxygenated blood can then be recirculated by the heart, which helps to improve cardiovascular function. With each rep sending blood back to your heart, you can boost your cardiovascular health simply by adding weightlifting into your existing exercise routine.
3. Burn More Calories
Many people hit the gym or go out for a run to promote weight loss. However, lifting weights can help you to burn more calories, which will ensure you lost weight more quickly. When you compare a 15-minute cardio workout to 15 mins of weightlifting, the cardio workout will typically burn more calories. However, lifting weights helps to increase the number of calories you burn overall and promotes fat loss.
When you build muscle, your body spends more energy maintaining that muscle than it does when it’s maintaining fat cells. By lifting weights, you’re increasing your muscle mass and modifying your metabolism. As a result, your body becomes far more efficient as burning calories and, in turn, losing weight.
4. Get Lean Muscles
Ask people why they go to the gym and they’ll tell you they want to ‘tone up’. In fact, what they mean is they want to gain muscle definition and lose fat. If you want ‘toned’ or lean muscles, exercising them regularly is the only way to achieve it. Lifting weights is the ultimate way to develop and maintain lean muscles, and a varied weightlifting routine will help you to shape every muscle in your body.
Furthermore, lifting weights is particularly beneficial for female health in this respect. Women lose an average of 22% of their muscle mass between the ages of 30-70. Worse still, the void left by this muscle is generally filled by fat cells. Fat takes up around 18% more space than muscle, so although your weight may not increase, your shape is likely to change.
If you want to maintain lean muscles and prevent muscle loss as you get older, adopting an effective strength training routine is the way to go. By lifting weights and building muscle mass, you can stave off the effects of muscle loss and maintain lean muscles for a lifetime.
5. Minimise Stress
We all know that exercise can improve your happiness and reduce anxiety, but weightlifting is a particularly effective way to manage stress. Studies have shown that women who commit to regular strength training workouts report a decrease in episodes of depression and low mood. In addition, the endorphins released when lifting weights can have an immediate impact on your outlook and your mood.
If you needed any more persuasion, weightlifting also helps to reduce the level of cortisol in your body. As exercise helps to moderate this ‘stress hormone’, you’ll find that lifting weights can help you to feel less anxious, both in the short and long-term.
With so many benefits associated with lifting weights, it’s no surprise that it’s becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise worldwide. Of course, safety when lifting weights is extremely important. Using professional weightlifting machines can help to perfect your form, for example, and minimise the risk the injuries. Similarly, strength training with free weights at the gym enables you to work with a partner or ‘spotter’, who can provide additional support if it’s needed.
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