Why Women Should Lift Weights

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Alright ladies, we know when you hear the term weightlifting you think of bulging biceps or thunderous thighs that make you look freakishly ripped. But unless you are consuming pounds of protein or large doses of hormones on a daily basis, this will not be the case. Weightlifting has a lot of benefits for women that often go unnoticed. Instead of thinking of it as weight training, think of it as strength training. Research shows that completing two strength-training sessions a week can help you burn more fat overall and sculpt those lean muscles that you are striving for. So take a break from your usual cardio routines and opt for a strength-training exercise a few times a week. Here are some reasons why you should start today!

Watch Your Metabolism Rate Increase and Your Pant Size Decrease

Although weightlifting tends to be in short intervals, the intensity of the exercises causes you to burn more calories even after you have finished the session. Cardio may burn more in a 30 minute training session, but weight lifting will leave you burning more calories after the session has completed. This stems from the science behind what builds muscle. It takes more calories (energy) for your body to retain muscle cells than it does fat cells. By increasing your weight lifting, you will be increasing the muscle mass in your body, and consequently boost your metabolism by turning your body into a more effective fat-burning machine. One of the main reasons why women’s metabolism declines with age is because we naturally lose muscle mass as the years progress. By starting to weight train again, it stimulates your metabolism and keeps it burning even longer after your workout is finished.

Research has shown that women between the ages of 30 and 70 lose an average of 22% of their muscle mass, and unfortunately a good amount of that is turned into fat. One pound of fat takes up 18% more space than does muscle. As you age, your weight on the scale may show a smaller number because you are losing the dense muscle, however since it is being exchanged with fat cells, your pant size may go up! The most efficient way for women to stay tight is strength-training. It is important to remember women do not have the testosterone levels to get the big muscles that men gain from weight-lifting. By creating a routine that strengthens your whole body (arms, legs, abs, back) and staying at low repetitions with progressively larger weights over time will keep you lean rather than bulky. Women often make the mistake to reach for the light weights thinking that will keep them away from bulking up. If you are first starting out then this is the way to go, but as time goes on, you will only see results if you are slowly increasing the weight.

You’ll Build Stronger Bones and a Healthier Heart

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects 20 million Americans, 80% of which are women. By lifting weights, you are building necessary tendons that pull on our bones, and in turn, makes them much stronger. The stress associated with pulling on your bones in this case is beneficial to building a stronger bone density, diminishing your likelihood of osteoporosis.
Not only does it make your bones stronger, but lifting weights can aid in avoiding type two diabetes. The more muscle you have, the less glucose and triglycerides is in your bloodstream, which reduces your risk of developing the disease or hardening of the arteries. So grab a weight and start lifting to help your body ward off these diseases!

You’ll Reduce Stress and Increase Your Happiness

Not only does lifting weights strengthen our body, but also your brain. And have you ever experienced runner’s high?! Not only is your brain being mentally stimulated with exercise, but lifting weights has also been shown to induce pleasure by releasing endorphins in the brain. Lifting also reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Something to consider: most antidepressants work in similar ways to release these “feel-good” chemicals to the brain, so why not decide on a more natural cure that strength training has to offer.

Hopefully these reasons have helped to show you that weight-lifting should not be thought of as a male dominated activity. There are many benefits that women can gain outside of just cardio workouts. Building muscle mass will create for longer term results which is key to an efficient workout regimen. Don’t become too focused on the number on your scale to track your progress. Because muscle is denser than fat, it might weigh more but it squeezes that weight into a smaller space than fat would, causing that trim figure you are seeking. For best results, how about try two to three total body strength workouts a week in 30 minute sessions and three to four cardio exercises. This will give a good variety to your routines and keep you from getting bored of the same daily exercises.

Always do your research before weight-lifting because injuries can occur from certain exercises if not executed properly. Here are a few exercises to get you started!

Christina Collins

Christina Collins

Christina Collins is a third year at UC Santa Barbara pursuing a double degree in both Communication and Economics. Through her studies, she has developed a strong passion for marketing. Christina grew up surfing, dancing, and playing volleyball which has taught her the importance of having an active lifestyle. At Santa Barbara Fitness Magazine, she is enjoying the opportunity of being able to get practical experience in an organization that shares her healthy lifestyle views.
Christina Collins

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