Are you afraid of weight training? Do you think it's too hard or that it will “bulk you up”? Do you find cardio exercise to be a better use of your workout time? In many instances, the answer to these questions keeps most women out of the gym and away from weights. However, in spite of what many women believe, weight training is absolutely critical for weight loss, weight maintenance, and overall good health. Here are 8 reasons why weight training is especially beneficial for women:
1. Builds Muscle. Forget your worries of bulking up with weight training. The male hormone testosterone is responsible for the development of large muscles and, luckily, women are genetically incapable of bulking up without the use of extraneous supplementation (i.e. synthetic testosterone boosters). For women, weight training leads to a more sleek and toned appearance.
2. Elevates Metabolic Rate. One moderate- to high-intensity weight training session can elevate your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories) for up to 12 hours. When your metabolic rate is elevated, you’ll burn more calories during any given activity, even at rest.
3. Enhances Cardiovascular Function. Weight training improves the structure and function of blood vessels, which enhances circulation to the heart and other organs in the body. Improved circulation greatly reduces your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
4. Decreases Overall Body Flab. The appearance of body flab usually results when a significant amount of weight is lost with dieting and/or excessive amounts of cardio exercise. Dieting and cardio exercise lead to reductions in body water, fat, and muscle. Since muscle partly contributes to the body’s shape and form, any loss in muscle can result in excessive flab around your body. By building and/or maintaining your muscle with weight training during and after weight loss, you can counter the appearance of body flab.
5. Sculpts the Body. When coupled with cardio and sensible eating, weight training is the absolute best method for sculpting the perfect body. Whether you want a bigger butt or a firmer, shapelier bust line, weight training is the only non-invasive, non-surgical method by which you can make your body look the way you want it to look.
6. Improves Balance, Posture, and Stability. Weight training increases both muscular strength and endurance. An adequate amount of strength and endurance in the muscles surrounding your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen (core muscles) allows for the maintenance of proper posture, balance, and stability which are required for carrying out everyday activities like walking up and down stairs, lifting children, and carrying groceries.
7. Reduces Some Effects of Aging. The effects of weight training on muscle can combat age-associated declines in muscle. The amount of muscle you have begins to decrease after the age of 30, therefore, it is easier to become “fatter”, even if you were thin all your life. While this decline in muscle with aging is inevitable, the rate at which it occurs is absolutely amendable with weight training. Weight training also has beneficial effects on aging bones. For example, bone mineral density is greatly increased with weight training. Increased bone mineral density reduces the risk of common bone-related ailments among aging women including fractures, arthritis, back pain, and osteoporosis.
8. Stress Relief. Excessive stress promotes poor health and disease. Your body responds to everyday stressors (i.e. family conflicts, work issues, illness, driving in traffic) by releasing a hormone called cortisol that promotes the onset of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Cortisol also increases abdominal fat storage, which shows up on your waistline. Weight training provides an outlet by which you can channel your stress.
The best part about weight training is that it can easily fit into your lifestyle, since it requires minimal equipment and time. As little as 20 to 30 minutes a day of whole-body training with free weights, machines, rubber tubing or your own bodyweight is all it takes (click here to learn how to establish a weight training plan that works for you). Start today and you’ll notice a significant change in your appearance in as little as a few weeks.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.
Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you. If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise. However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.
Written by Nina Cherie Franklin