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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