10 Reasons Women Should Strength Train

Woman doing bicep curls

My 70 year old mom does not fear weights. Doesn’t she look good? I’m so proud of her!

I’ve worked out at a many dif­fer­ent gyms and although the equip­ment and envi­ron­ment may change, one fact remains the same:  women  shy away from the weight room.

Many women are still afraid of gain­ing huge mus­cles like men do.   This fear is part­ly unjus­ti­fied. The real­i­ty is, most women don’t have the amount of testos­terone nec­es­sary to build huge mus­cles. But there are some women who are genet­i­cal­ly pre­dis­posed to build­ing mus­cle quick­ly and eas­i­ly.  If you fall with­in this group, sim­ply choose weights that are lighter and add more rep­e­ti­tions.  This way you are still gain­ing the ben­e­fits of strength train­ing with­out bulk­ing up.

Many women are also intim­i­dat­ed by the vari­ety of weight machines and fear look­ing fool­ish. The real­i­ty is, many peo­ple in the weight room don’t know how to use the machines cor­rect­ly which often results in mus­cle strains and/or injury.

Strength train­ing is impor­tant for women of all ages and should be part of everyone’s exer­cise rou­tine.    It brings added ben­e­fits which you can­not get from aer­o­bic activ­i­ties.

Here are 10 rea­sons of why you should add strength train­ing to your reper­toire:

10 Ben­e­fits of Strength Train­ing:

1. Increas­es mus­cle strength.

2. Increas­es mus­cle mass and pre­vents sar­cope­nia in the elder­ly. Sar­cope­nia is the loss of mus­cle mass due to aging.

3. Boosts metab­o­lism.

4. Improves mus­cle tone and def­i­n­i­tion and reduces body fat.

5. Strength­ens bones and helps pre­vent osteo­poro­sis.

6. Facil­i­tates every­day tasks.

7. Improves heart func­tion and reduces risk of heart dis­ease.

8. Con­trols blood sug­ar.

9. Helps relieve arthri­tis pain.

10. Improves mood and builds con­fi­dence.

The CDC has deter­mined in its 2008 Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty Guide­lines for Amer­i­cans, that adults should add 2 or more days of strength train­ing activ­i­ties a week.

Exer­cis­es should include all major mus­cle groups, such as the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoul­ders, and arms and be of mod­er­ate to high inten­si­ty. Strength train­ing is espe­cial­ly impor­tant for Adults in their late 30’s or ear­ly 40s, when a quar­ter pound of mus­cle mass is lost every year and replaced with body fat;  strength train­ing can help pre­serve mus­cle and help build mus­cle mass.

If you are unsure of how to use the machines in the weight room, ask the gym staff that you want to take a tour, gyms  usu­al­ly have com­pli­men­ta­ry ses­sions to avoid injuries.  Anoth­er option would be to hire a per­son­al train­er.  Per­son­al train­ers can design a work­out for your abil­i­ties and exer­cise goals. If you pre­fer to work out at home, you can pur­chase some inex­pen­sive weights or exer­cise bands to improve your strength.  What­ev­er you chose to do, start includ­ing some strength-train­ing into your work­out rou­tine.

References

Ref­er­ences: Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. Why strength train­ing? http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/index.html Accessed June 17, 2011.

Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty for Every­one. How much phys­i­cal activ­i­ty do you need? http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter4.aspx Accessed June 17, 2011.



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