Most women shy away from weight lifting. Oftentimes, it’s the idea that lifting weights will make them look masculine, and in some cases, “bulky” or “beefed up”, like male bodybuilders. In reality, that takes a lot more than just lifting some weights.
In fact, to get there is a whole process by itself involving incredibly heavy weights and a diet extremely high in calories. Now, if you’re looking to tone your body, those extremes aren’t necessary.
The benefits of weight lifting for women
Lifting weights in reality does more good than harm to women’s bodies. Although most get into it only for aesthetics, that isn’t the only gain you will get from it.
Reduces body fat
More muscle mass in your body means the body will burn more calories while at rest, boosting your metabolic rate and burning fat even through menial activities. Studies have shown that women who combine weight training and cardio during the week shed more fat mass than women who only stick to cardio.
Strengthens joints and muscles
Muscles in the body get stronger when you lift weights. Constant repetition of strength exercises also strengthens the surrounding joints, making movement easier and decreasing pain in certain muscles. This also helps improve posture.
Increases bone mineral density
Women are more prone to osteoporosis in their later years than men are. This is due to the limited secretion of certain hormones once the menopause hits. This makes your body more prone to fractures and general weakness in the limbs. Weight training can strengthen the bones just as it does the muscles.
Prevents risk of injuries and certain diseases
Increased muscle and bone strength goes a long way when it comes to preventing issues within the body. Not only is the risk of fractures and damage reduced, but so is the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease, respiratory ailments, digestive issues, high cholesterol and blood pressure, etc.
Reduces stress and increases confidence
Weight training is a great outlet for stress. The endorphins and dopamine released after a good exercise session uplift the mood. Plus, it tones the body and gets you in great shape, which is a massive boost for one’s self-esteem. Women following a weight training regime have reported feeling more confident than women who follow a strict-cardio regime.
If you're still on the fence because of what you’ve heard about weight training, let’s bust some of the common (still ridiculous) myths out there.
Myths associated with weight lifting for women
Makes women look masculine
Let’s put this straight: if you are a woman, weight lifting isn’t going to turn you into a man. It takes a lot more than that. What it will do is make you leaner, your shape more defined, and improve your posture. Sure, you can pack on some muscle, but for that you will have to really load up on protein.
Doesn’t aid with weight loss
No way! As discussed above, increased muscle mass also means increased metabolic rate, which means your body burns more calories throughout the day. Although some cardio is necessary to reduce fat mass, it should go hand-in-hand with weight lifting. One should never stick to just cardio to lose weight as it will render you feeling weak and looking shapeless.
Increases the risk of injury
You could walk into the street or climb down the stairs and get injured. Accidents are inevitable, and as long as you are careful, chances are you won’t have to suffer that fate. In fact, weight lifting has been proven to reduce the risk of injuries by strengthening your muscles, bones, and even joints.
It is not for older women
As with any activity, the intensity of it is to be reduced as you grow older. However, just like men, women are also perfectly capable of lifting weights even in later years. Moreover, given that women are the most common victims of osteoporosis post-menopause, weight lifting in these years is essential.
If you are a woman who is looking to get into weight lifting and is intimidated by it, you have nothing to worry about! Fitness centers are equipped with all you need, plus actual professionals who can guide you through the basics; even warm-up and cool down routines
Now that you know it does more good than harm, get into some comfortable gym clothes and put on a pair of flat shoes. We’ve got some weight to lift!
Poll : Are you a woman who lifts?