Many people, not just women, dismiss weight training for a host of reasons. As a military trainer i've heard it all, "I don't want to bulk", "I don't know how", "I don't like people staring at me", and millions of other excuses. Truth is, I think the bottom line is people are afraid of what they don't know. So, in an effort to alleviate some of the anxiety and fear of weight training, here are my 8 reasons why women should weight train.
1. You Will Lose Body Fat - Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat.
As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism and you burn
more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you
gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.
2. You Will Gain Strength Without Bulk - Researchers also found that
unlike men, women typically don't gain size from strength training, because
compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause
muscle hypertrophy. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition.
This is a bonus.
3. You Decrease Your Risk Of Osteoporosis - Research has found that
weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone
modeling) by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount
of dietary calcium, can be a women's best defense against osteoporosis.
4. Increased Strength & Athletic Performance - Whatever sport you play, strength
training has been shown to improve overall performance as well as decrease
the risk of injury.
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for
assistance in daily living. Chores will be easier, lifting kids, groceries
and laundry will no longer push you to the max.
If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will
be far less likely to cause injury. Research studies conclude that even
moderate weight training can increase a woman's strength by 30 to 50
percent. Research also shows that women can develop their strength at the
same rate as men.
5. You Will Reduce Your Risk Of Injury, Back Pain & Arthritis - Strength
training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger
connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement
for the joints and helps prevent injury.
A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an
80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other
studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of
osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
6. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes - According to Dr. Barry A.
Franklin, of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, weight
training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including
lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol and
lowering blood pressure.
When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.
In addition, Dr. Franklin noted that weight training may improve the way the
body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset
diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that
weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent
in four months.
7. It Is Never Too Late To Benefit - Women in their 70's and 80's have
built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that
strength improvements are possible at any age.
8. You Will Improve Your Attitude And Fight Depression - A Harvard study
found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression
symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength
train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of
their program, all important factors in fighting depression.
Tee Major is a military fitness instructor, personal trainer, fitness model, tech geek, dog lover, and seeker of all things dangerous. Check out his YouTube channel here.