When I joined my current gym a year ago, they offered 3 free sessions with a personal trainer which I promptly did NOT use. A few weeks ago, I said to myself ‘Self, this might be a great opportunity to tap into their knowledge and figure out just what I need to do to get this last 30lbs off by the New Year.’ I met with my trainer, and after doing an online assessment, we headed over to where all the weight machines and whatnot are housed. I said “Wow, I’ve never been to this side of the gym.” She said “Well, that’s your problem right there! Just doing cardio will not get the job done.”
Muscle mass is one of the best ways to keep body fat at bay and to improve overall fitness, particularly as we age. Weight lifting is hands down the best way to build muscle mass. If you are a woman, here are a few reasons I found as to why you (and I) need to take strength training seriously.
You Will Be Physically Stronger
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.
You Will Lose Body Fat
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. I also discovered that the higher your resting metabolism, the more calories you can eat without gaining weight – SCORE!
You Will Gain Strength Without Bulk
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. My goal is to tone up without bulking up, so this was great news for me.
You Will Reduce Your Risk Of Injury, Back Pain and 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. I’ve had issues with back pain over the years, so strengthening my core muscles should help alleviate some of that, as well as improve my posture.
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. My mother so graciously passed down high cholesterol and high blood pressure to me, so I definitely see the importance of weight training and cardio to improve my heart health.
You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes
Weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months. Fight “The Sugar” with some strength training!
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.
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Jonna "Naturally Glam" is a 30-something naturalista from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. As she approached 30, she embarked on a few lifestyle journeys – natural hair, health, fashion and beauty. None of which she'd spent any significant amount of time and energy on before. But as she got older and wiser, she felt this was the time to “do her thing” and do it well – but on a budget. Jonna launched her company, Naturally Glam LLC,http://naturally-glam.com, in 2012 to share her natural hair journey, healthy lifestyle journey, “chic for cheap” fashion & beauty tips, and as a means to bring events to her local area that encompassed all of these things.View all Naturally Glam posts.