I am always shocked at how imbalanced the weight room still looks, even in this day and age. It is still packed with guys, usually larger guys pumping heavy weights to really bulk up. Every once in a while, I see a couple of women working out with men who really get it. They have tapped into one of the biggest secrets out there – lifting weights can help you lose weight! And for women, lifting heavy weights doesn’t mean that you will bulk up and look like a power lifter – it is physically impossible. Women should lift weights…there are so many benefits!
Why women should lift weights
- Increased weight loss. Recently, it has been proven that lifting weight is more effective at weight loss than hours of cardio, specifically in eliminating belly fat. Aerobic exercise burns fat and muscle, while lifting burns almost exclusively fat!
- More muscle = more calorie expenditure. “As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently.” The more muscle contractions by lean muscle, the more calories burned.
- Better mental health. Building strength physically has a weird way to building strength mentally. The more you can accomplish in the gym, the more confidence you will also build – it’s pretty incredible. You will be shocked what your body can do!
- Increased flexibility. “Researchers from the University of North Dakota pitted static stretches against strength-training exercises and found that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well as your typical static stretching regimen.”
- Building muscle = more curves. As you weight train, you body will develop an hourglass figure, and lifting more will only sustain that figure.
- Better sleep! Who knew that getting good sleep would be so difficult as we got older? With all the stressors of life (work, family, running a house, etc), many of us yearn to get a good night’s sleep. And better sleep can help you lose more weight. “A study published in the International SportMed Journal suggests that morning resistance training or high intensity training greatly affects the quality of sleep and lengthens the time of sleep the night after training.”
- Increased energy. Resistance training causes an increase in energy for hours after training. This is due to increased oxygen delivery throughout the body post exercise – that oxygen gives you more energy!
- Better heart health. The American Heart Association endorses weight training for reducing heart disease, even in those at higher risk for cardiac events. “A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that those who lift weights are less likely have heart disease risk factors such as a large waist circumference, high triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and elevated glucose levels.”
- Better bone health. As we age, we are at greater risk for osteoporosis and fracture, particularly postmenopausal women. This is due to a diminished production of estrogen. Weight training combats bone loss and and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Better stress management. “Researchers have consistently found that those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not exercise.”
Alright ladies, who’s hitting the gym?