Weight training seems like the ultimate masculine activity. Because of this impression, many women never even consider lifting weights. While it’s true you probably don’t want to develop massive, bulging muscles, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lift weights at all. Here are the eight best reasons why women should practice weight training.
- You’ll get stronger bones. Women are especially prone to bone-weakening conditions like osteoporosis, so keeping your bones healthy is critical. Luckily, weight training doesn’t just give you stronger muscles, but stronger bones as well. Though bones grow at a much slower rate than muscles, many scientific studies have found lifting weights increases bone density.
- You’ll use up more calories. It’s true that cardio burns more calories than lifting weights. However, doing both will burn even more calories. Adding a weight training regimen to an existing cardio training habit will help you lose weight or stay in good shape.
- You’ll maintain muscle. Even if you don’t want to build new muscle, weight training is still important. Remember the phrase ‘use it or lose it’? Well, that applies to muscles, too. If you never use them, your muscles will shrink, and you’ll become less toned and less attractive. Aging also causes muscle loss, and lost muscle is likely be replaced by fat.
- You’ll be happier. Physical exertion triggers the release of endorphin (the chemicals that cause feelings of pleasure and euphoria) in the brain. Research has also indicated that working out increases overall happiness. Plus, weight training make you feel proud of yourself and enhances your self-esteem.
- You will improve your balance. Stronger muscles will help you stay coordinated as the years pass. The ability to balance depends mostly on fast-twitch muscles (i.e., muscles that can react quickly), and the best way to keep these sorts of muscles in fine form is to lift weights.
- You’ll lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. While your blood pressure will temporarily rise during a weight training session, research has shown that lifting weights will actually reduce your blood pressure overall. If practiced in conjunction with cardio exercises and healthy eating, lifting weights will also help regulate cholesterol.
- Your metabolism will be faster. Your metabolism is largely dependent on your muscles. Adding muscle will speed up your metabolism, which in turn will help you lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. Even when at rest, muscle cells burn calories at a much higher rate than fat and other types of cells in the body.
- You can have greater control over your appearance. Almost all of us have certain parts of our body we wish we could make more attractive. While spot reducing fat is impossible, targeting specific muscle groups is easy. For example, if you want better legs, simply focus on weight exercises that work that area.
Cardio workouts are great, and no one’s suggesting that weight training should entirely replace them. However, working out with weights is also valuable — even for women. If your regular workout routine has gone stale, or you feel like facing a new challenge, taking up weight lifting is a great idea.
Worried you’ll become too bulky? Don’t be. Because of hormonal differences, it’s impossible for women to develop muscles the way men can — unless, as in the case of many female bodybuilders, they take dangerous illegal steroids. So go ahead and start lifting weights — you won’t regret your decision.