Women have had a natural aversion to strength training ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled his 22 inch upper arms on national TV in the early ‘70’s. Fearing that weights would somehow miraculously pack slabs of unsightly muscle all over their body, women have had them placed in the no go zone for ages. Fortunately, more and more women are coming to realize the following immutable truth…The fastest, most efficient, way to lose fat, shape muscle and create a tight, sculpted body is with strength training.
If you haven’t got wise to the benefits of strength training yet, here are a dozen reasons why your body needs you to start pumping iron.
12 Ways Strength Training Will Keep a Woman Young
#1. Resistance training stimulates bone density
This will help to ward off such age related ailments as osteoporosis. This is especially important for women, who are far more prone to bone weakness through the loss of minerals during menopause. A 2011 study conducted at Tufts University indicated that regular moderate intensity weight training not only reduces age affected bone loss, but actually promotes renewed bone growth. (1)
#2. Resistance Training Speeds the Metabolism
Weight training is a fantastic means of combating the natural declines in metabolism and muscle mass which are a part of the aging process. The slowing down of the metabolism leads to fat accumulation in the thighs and hips as well as under the upper arms of women. Training with weights is the most effective way to target these areas. Resistance training induces what is known as the EPOC effect. EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It means that, even after you stop working out, you will be burning a lot more calories than normal. On top of the EPOC effect, it requires extra calories to regenerate and repair the muscle tissue that is stressed when you work out with weights. The muscle that you produce as a result of weight training will also need more caloric consumption to support itself.
#3. Resistance training combats arthritis
According to the Tufts University study mentioned earlier, training with weights has a lubricating effect on our joints, while also strengthening those joints. These effects have shown themselves to be life changing for many people who suffer from arthritis.
#4. Resistance training enhances energy use
As we age, we become less efficient at metabolizing glucose. That is a major contributing factor to Type-2 Diabetes, which the majority of people contract between the ages of 55 and 60. Yet, studies have confirmed that regular resistance training can dramatically improve the body’s glucose uptake. (2) With women twice as likely as men to develop Type-2 Diabetes, it just makes sense for women to pump iron.
#5. Resistance exercise will make you more aerobically fit
Compound movements like squats and deadlifts will shunt the blood around your whole body. Your heart and lungs will be more efficient and you will be dramatically reducing your susceptibility to a host of cardiovascular diseases.
#6. Resistance training builds muscle
Which is what gives the body its shape. That classic, toned hour-glass figure won’t happen on the treadmill. The curves that so many women strive for are built in the weight room.
#7. Resistance training improves muscular endurance
This will make everyday chores like lifting groceries, carrying children and washing the floor so much easier. Put simply, your muscles will be able to work harder for longer. Including ballistic movements using such equipment as kettle-bells will also improve your functional fitness, allowing you to carry out such daily activities as carrying groceries or changing a car tire without pulling a muscle.
#8. Resistance training will make you look healthier
It does so while reshaping and building muscle. Therefore, weight training is the only exercise that will allow you to alter your body composition (your ratio of muscle to fat). It is the answer that women have looked in all the wrong places in order to tone and shape their butt, hips, thighs and upper arms.
#9. Resistance training develops inner qualities like self-esteem, purpose, self-discipline and stickability
Numerous clinical studies confirm what gym goers have known for decades – weight training provides all the positive effects of psychiatric medication, with none of the negatives. (2) With depression being twice as common in women as in men, it is obvious that weight training has huge benefits for a woman’s mental well-being.
#10. Resistance exercise is a great way to lose fat
Yes, fat. Forget those long, boring sessions on the treadmill and get yourself used to the feel of an Olympic Barbell. Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and lunges need a lot of energy to perform, especially when you start hoisting some decent amounts of weight. A heavy-set of squats will get you puffing like a steam engine. That exertion will have you burn calories at a rapid rate of knots. This will help you to control weight, making you less likely to fall prey to cardiovascular disease. Women struggle with weight fluctuation more than men do. Regular weight training will go a great way toward stabilizing weight and ensuring a steady rate of fat loss while maintaining the muscle that produces those sexy curves.
#11. Resistance training Improves Sleep Quality
Regular weight trainers fall asleep more easily, have a better quality of sleep and they sleep longer. Quality sleep is crucial to weight control and overall good health. For busy moms sleep is a precious commodity. When you get it, you need to make the most of it. Resistance training will allow you to do so.
#12. Resistance exercise strengthens the core
This is especially important for women. The process of pregnancy, childbirth and the carrying of children makes women more prone to lower back injury than men. A strong core will reduce the pressure on your lower back. Strengthening the erector spinae muscles that surround the low spine will make it a lot easier to get up and down.
The evidence is overwhelming – resistance training is vital for health and vitality among women. But where to begin? For an individualized approach that will tailor a resistance program to meet your specific requirements, then guide you through every session, contact a reputable personal fitness trainer. She’ll be able to design and start the resistance program that will get and keep you on the healthy fitness fast track.
James is a fitness enthusiast and writer over at GarageGymBuilder.com – he spends his days running his online business and testing different ways to hack his fitness routine. James was a physical trainer for 6 years before he branched out and decided to start his own online business. Head of to his twitter to see his daily ramblings @garagegymguide
(1) Dtsch Arztebl Int. May 2011; 108(21): 359–365: Published online May 27, 2011. The Intensity and Effects of Strength Training in the Elderly