Why Should Women Strength Train

fitness corner - women weight trainingAre you a woman who is missing out on the benefits of strength training due to a fear of “bulking up”. Have no fear, that is a misconception. Most women have too much estrogen to build bulky muscles by weight training. Women you see in bodybuilding “muscle mags” have no doubt used some form of supplement to get that look and have made weight lifting their main job. The average woman who spends 45 minutes to an hour 3 to 6 days per week lifting weights will not bulk up. A “toning” effect you can see, improved muscle strength you can feel and improved bone density you won’t see or feel will occur.

Improved bone density is probably the number one health reason to lift weights as a woman. By working out with moderately heavy weights bone density will be increased and your risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures related will be reduced. Be sure to choose a weight that is not too light. Choose a weight that allows 10-12 reps of an exercise but no more Your last 2 reps should feel difficult. If you feel like you can do up to 15 reps then the weight is too light for that exercise. As you perform a strength training exercise, the muscle pulls on the bone, stressing it slightly. The body then lays down more calcium in the bone to repair the stress, therefore improving the density and strength of it. This is extremely important for menopausal women looking to maintain bone health at a time when estrogen lessens and bones can weaken as a result. It is also important for young women in their late teens and early 20’s who can develop a strong baseline bone density level by adding strength training to their workouts. The stronger your bones are prior to menopause, the less risk of osteoporosis for you after. You can also strengthen bone through impact activities such as running but as we age those activities become less comfortable. Another reason to add weight training to your list of things to do regularly.

Improved muscle mass through weight lifting helps you maintain a healthy weight. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn, even at rest. Muscle weighs more than fat as well. You may not lose weight in pounds by weight training but you will lose inches. Your weight loss may not show on the scales but it will show in the way your clothes fit. Strength training in combination with cardiovascular conditioning and healthy eating patterns is the best prescription for a healthy body. Not only do women who weight train gain bone density and lose body fat, they also gain overall muscular strength which can just make everyday life and daily chores a bit easier. Want to look good and feel great? Pick up some weights, regularly.