Women who think they shouldn’t lift weights or don’t need to do so are fooling themselves. Strength training is an important component of improving one’s health, and it isn’t necessary to bench press twice your body weight or curl 50 pounds with each arm to reap its benefits. What is important however is consistency and planning. Like all exercise, doing it once doesn’t give you long-term health benefits, but incorporating it into your routine does. These are just some of them:
- Increases your resting metabolism which helps you to lose weight
- Improves your strength. You’ll not only notice this in the gym, but also in daily life activities such as carrying groceries, lifting kids, spreading mulch, etc.
- Reduces your risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease
- Reduces your risk of injury, especially lower-back injuries
- Gives you more energy
- Improves your attitude, self-image and self-esteem
- Lessens the frequency of being sick
- Improves your balance and coordination
- Can lower resting blood pressure
- Improves your posture
- Can increase your HDL (good cholesterol)
- Replenishes your muscle mass that naturally decreases with age
- Increases muscle endurance and flexibility
- Improves your physical appearance – talk about positive reinforcement!
Women who lift weights do not “bulk up.” We don’t grow facial hair, get lower voices, or develop an Adam’s apple. These are myths. Women do not have nearly enough testosterone for any of these to occur naturally. Yet only about 21% of women lift weights at least twice a week. They are missing out!
When lifting weights or exercising in general, it is important to use proper form. Doing otherwise could cause injury, sidelining you for a few days or in the case of more serious injuries, up to several months and cost a lot of money in medical bills. It could also overload muscles which could result in other long-term issues.
Recovery time in between sessions is essential. You should rest each set of muscles at least 48 hours before engaging them in the same or a similar routine.
Only compete against yourself. Don’t try to lift as much as the gal next to you. Don’t automatically start with the dumbbell weights and number of repetitions that are listed in the fitness magazine you are reading. Instead, follow a program that is designed by a professional to address your entire body and is based on your goals and your medical and exercise history. Simply put, plan your work, work your plan, and track your progress.
Your age is irrelevant. Studies have repeatedly shown that adding physical activity at all ages helps a person so it is never too late to start. While your goals may be different, the benefits are not. What’s stopping you?