Why Women Should Lift Weights
The dumbbell rack can be a scary place. Not only are there a seemingly infinite number of different exercise options, gyms can sometimes attract some odd ball characters.
The intimidation factor is real.
Most women also have no desire to sculpt huge biceps and hulk out, they just want to look and feel better. So they skip the dumbbell rack, and head to the treadmills.
I used to be one of these women.
Before becoming a trainer the extent of my “weight-lifting” routine consisted of a circuit of the same five stationary machines, always with the same weights, and always for 10 reps. I’d then finish with 20 minutes of elliptical, and call it a day.
Most of my new clients had a similar story, and all expressed concerns about bulking up. (I’ll go ahead and squash that fear now. Lifting weights will not make you immediately bulk up. It’s actually very difficult to build the kind of muscle most women worry about, and the only way to “tone up”, is to build strength. Fear not!)
So is it worth incorporating resistance training into your fitness routine, even if the barrier to get started feels intimidating?
Here are 5 compelling reasons why all women should lift weights.
Increased Bone Strength
This is arguably the most important reason all women should lift weights. Bone density and strength are important as you age. Essentially, stronger bones means you are less likely to experience a fracture due to osteoporosis.
While all exercise can help to build strong bones, resistance training has been shown to be more impactful. So if you want to be able to dance at your 75th birthday party without worrying about breaking a leg (literally), start lifting weights.
Stronger Body and Mind
While “gaining strength” isn’t exactly a groundbreaking benefit from lifting weights (I mean, duh, isn’t that the point?), what women tend to gloss over is why it is important.
Being stronger can help you avoid injury (especially if you enjoy running and cycling), live more independently (like, you can order something heavy from Amazon without having to recruit a neighbor to help you get it up the stairs), and it can help you maintain a better energy balance (i.e. increase your energy!)
Aside from these physical benefits, increasing your strength and mental discipline will also increase your self-confidence and how you carry yourself. Which is priceless in my book.
Need I say more? Due to our overstimulated modern world, it seems like we are all chasing a better nights sleep. Short of medicating yourself, sometimes it feels like nothing can help.
Physical exercise to the rescue! And just in case you need a little AM motivation, this study shows that morning exercise, both strength training and endurance activity, can help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly (yes please!).
Decreased Stress & Anxiety
The positive connection between mental health and exercise is something most people agree on. Have a bad day? Sweat is out. Going through a breakup? Sweat it out.
But science can also back up these claims. This article summarizes the various studies conducted with both aerobic and strength training exercise types, and the positive impacts on various mental health markers.
Better Body Composition
If you want to improve your body composition, i.e. tone up, sculpt, lean out, or any of the commonly used fitness “buzz” words, you must include resistance training into your routine.
While cardio will burn more calories (in a minute by minute comparison), strength training will help you also build lean muscle while burning fat (i.e. get that toned up look).
It should also be noted that strength training does not mean you have to start powerlifting weights that are 3x your bodyweight (although if you can do that, mad props!).
Resistance training can start light (but don’t be afraid to go heavy! If you need help on how to select the right weight, read this post), and you can progress at your own pace.
Aim to add some sort of resistance training into your fitness routine at least two days a week. If you need guidance on what or how, be sure to click below and check out my WRK App!