In this article I’m just going to focus on the health benefits of weight training, and the importance of incorporating it into your regular exercise regime.
But, before we get into these benefits I just want to clarify that you WILL NOT bulk up, which is one of the common reasons why women avoid weight training. This is a misconception as it physically cannot happen. Women don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men. You can build lean muscle and strength (definition) without “bulking”.
Have I got your attention – The old saying ‘Use It or Lose It’ – well it’s very relevant and true.
From when you are born to around the age of 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% of muscle mass per decade. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss, although the loss is much more dramatic among people who eat less healthily and don’t exercise regularly.
Maintaining as much lean muscle as you can through exercise, specifically weight training, from your 30s and 40s is vitally important, and can increase muscle strength and endurance and assist in reducing muscle loss. Even if you start later in life you can make a big difference. It’s never too late to start!
Improving strength is a major determining factor in the quality of life. Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in everyday life. Daily activities will be far easier the stronger and fitter you are, from lifting and playing with your children, carrying groceries and opening that jam jar to more basic parts of life as you age such as standing, bending and walking.
Sarcopenia, age-related muscle loss, is the major cause of frailty as you age. It can lead to falls and broken hips and prevents you from fully recovering.
Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
In fact, women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with this condition. While lack of weight-bearing exercise isn’t the sole reason for this (other factors such as hormones and menopause, diet and lifestyle choices are involved) weight training can certainly help improve bone density and reduce your risk!
The reason that weight training can help ward of osteoporosis is because loading bone structures with weight is the number one way to strengthen and harden bones. It works in the same way as the mechanism behind muscle growth: the extra stimulus causes the body to adapt and grow.
Exercise must be regular and ongoing to have a proper benefit.
Lean strong muscles, that are utilising a larger amount of muscle fibres burns much more energy than small, underused muscles that are sedentary all day. Makes sense right.
More muscle mass = boost in resting metabolism
This increase in energy expenditure means an increased metabolic rate. A higher metabolic rate means that you can eat more food and still maintain a healthy weight. YAY! Do even need to give any more reasons ??
Without going into too much detail, insulin resistance is a metabolic disturbance that, if left untreated, leads to type 2 diabetes. Muscles are one of the cells affected by insulin resistance and when they stop listening to insulin effectively, it becomes a big problem. The great news is, weight training regularly and the adaptations that go along with that, increases their sensitivity to insulin and can reverse this metabolic disturbance! It’s quite amazing!
Weight training isn’t just physical, it comes with a lot of psychological benefits too.
Exercise and weight training release endorphins which in turn can help improve mood, reduce stress and boost well-being.
An emotional benefit of weight training for women is that many of us females find themselves very unhappy with the way they look. Weight training can help you feel more confident, capable and help fight depression, not only with the psychological benefits but the physical changes that can occur also.
If you don’t know where to start, or need help to progress, get yourself a Personal Trainer. A Personal Trainer will guide you, educate you and motivate you.
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