Strength training, also known as weight training or resistance training should be part of your fitness routine. Many women shy away from strength because they fear that they may bulk up or look too masculine. The truth is that you would have to lift a significant amount of weight to bulk up to look like Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock.” Another reason women don’t strength train is because they feel intimidated or they lack the know how. This can be easily remedied by investing in a personal trainer. Or if you can’t afford a personal trainer you can invest in mobile apps or fitness dvds that are specifically geared for beginners. There are far too many benefits from strength training to let these reasons prevent you from reaping it’s rewards. Here are some benefits of strength training:
1. Helps you to lose weight and helps you to keep the weight off.
Lifting weight helps you to burn more calories, thus enabling you to lose weight. Also, women who weight train burn more calories while performing normal daily activities.
2. Increases you metabolism.
Strength training can boost your metabolism by 15 percent. You continue to burn calories even after your workout. More calories are used to make and maintain muscle.
3. Strengthens your bone and maintains your muscle mass.
As we age we lose approximately 1% bone and muscle strength. Strength training in some cases can prevent, stop or reverse this loss. This is especially important in more mature women who are approaching menopause or who are post-menopausal. Bone density decreases at this stage of life and thus women are more susceptible to bone fractures after a fall.
4. Builds endurance and strength.
With toned muscle you are likely to feel stronger and fitter. This also may translate to increasing your mental strength.
5. Prevents disease and helps manage disease.
If you think that having a health condition precludes you from strength training–think again. Research has shown that strength training can actually help treat your disease.
6. Improves your mood.
Natural endorphins are produced when you exercise. These endorphins elevate your mood and give you energy. Hence why exercise is along with therapy and/or medication part of the treatment plan for those suffering from depression or anxiety.
7. Provides muscle definition and improves appearance.
The goal of exercise should be about the health you gain, but the end result of the physical transformation is hard to ignore. Who doesn’t want to look better? This may also translate into feeling better about yourself and building more confidence.
If incorporated safely and with clearance from your medical doctor strength training can and should be an integral part of your exercise routine. Aim to strength train 2 to 3 days per week. It’s great to warm up before you weight train, this will decrease your risk of injury. Also, stretch before and after strength training to prevent stiffness and soreness. The numerous benefits of strength training from improving your health, your mood and physical appearance should be enough encouragement to get you moving this Monday morning!
by Marjorie Binette, MD