There’s a common misconception surrounding strength training: that it’s only for men and that women shouldn’t touch weights at all. Those women will be too bulky if they start lifting weights and doing exercise traditionally attributed to strength training. That they don’t need the strength, so why do it in the first place.
Of course, as science and fitness have long been saying, these are all false and the opposite is actually true. No, you won’t magically become bulky and hulk-like if you started lifting weights. The female body simply doesn’t produce enough hormones to facilitate such muscle growth. Strength training is indeed good for women, and there are many benefits to doing so. Here are a couple of reasons why strength training is good for women.
It’s Very Effective for Fat Loss
While the more typical fat-loss exercises such as running, jogging, and other cardiovascular exercises are definitely effective when it comes to weight loss, so is strength training. As a matter of fact, strength training might even be better for long-term fat loss too. The reason is interesting: strength training develops the muscles (while engaging other systems- cardiovascular system included), and muscles play an important role in determining your resting metabolic rate. What this means is that basically, the more muscles and the less fat you have, the more your body naturally burns calories. This is because muscles not only weigh more than fat (while appearing smaller), it also consumes more calories.
It Makes You Stronger- Literally
Women are not the dainty and fragile creatures that traditional stereotypes often make it out to be. We all know that women are far stronger than that- and strength training helps prove that in a physical sense. The training done in strength training isn’t just to develop bigger muscles, it’s also to make them stronger and more dynamic. It will help you move furniture around your family room, lift more grocery bags, carry all your things with ease- strength training is the closest we can get to be superheroes, and that’s something that knows no gender or stereotype.
It Reduces the Risk of Bone and Muscle Degradation
As we age, our bodies naturally grow older and weaker. It’s an inevitable fact of life that we all must face. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. Actually, we can help significantly delay it, and strength training is one of those ways. Not only does weight training improve your muscular system, preventing atrophy often associated with old age, it also strengthens the bones. This reduces the risk for osteoporosis, something, and bone loss. Both our bones and muscles adjust to the pressure applied to them (of course, through continuous but gradual increase), and strength training is exactly like that: it trains the body to bear a heavier load, making the muscles and bones stronger.
It Also Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Everyone knows that exercise prevents several diseases, but many assume ‘exercise’ to equate to activities such as aerobics, jogging, swimming, or similar activities. Not everyone thinks that strength training counts as it’s not quite the ‘cardio exercises’ we usually see. While those activities are absolutely fine, strength training also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases significantly. Up to 40% to 70% actually. Add the fact that it helps prevent muscle atrophy and bone loss, strength training is definitely something anyone concerned about their health should do.
Improves Mood and Reduces Anxiety
The post-workout feeling is something only fitness enthusiasts know. It’s the sense of lightness that comes after finishing your routine, that feeling of simply being happy. That’s because exercising helps release the ‘happy hormones in our brains, also called endorphins. This not only improves our mood but also increases our energy. Interestingly enough, it also helps reduce anxiety as it has an anxiolytic effect that helps alleviate stress, thereby lessening anxiety. It’s so much effective that many doctors and health professionals are now recommending strength training to those suffering from clinical anxiety.
Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem
Women have many issues to contend with. Most of these issues are due to pressure from society- things like body image, self-esteem, physical strength, etc. While society has a lot of work to do, what you can do in the meantime is to bolster your sense of self and improve your self-confidence. And that’s something that strength training can help you in. The strength you gain and the improved health do a lot in making you feel confident.
The successes you get from increasing the repetition or intensity of your exercises are the building blocks of confidence, as it tells you that yes, you can do it if you set your mind to it.