7 Benefits of Weight Lifting for Women
When it comes to weight lifting for women and exercise in general there are a lot of misconceptions on what we should be doing to achieve our health and fitness goals. Treadmills, or as I like to all them dreadmills, ellipticals, and cardiovascular workouts are when us women tend to go because it is what we know. They also tend to lean us out. But while we are losing weight and slimming down, we are also losing muscle.
I know when I first started to exercise I wasn’t really sure where to start or what to do so that is exactly the type of workouts I went for! But reality is weight lifting is an amazing way to lose weight and look more toned. As soon as I started to lift weights I saw some pretty serious changes in my body composition. Things were looking tighter, more lifted, and well the hubby definitely took notice constantly making comments and loving glances my way.
So while we know there are a lot of stigmas around weight lifting for women, there are so many benefits you may not be aware of. We are here to break down our top 7!
1. Toned Muscle
We hear it all the time, women want toned muscle but do not want to lift weights for fear of looking like a man. Reality is just a diet change, or just cardio alone will not give you toned muscle. Toned muscle is muscle and lifting weights is what builds muscle. Built muscle=toned muscle. In fact, the more muscle you build the smaller you will actually appear as building muscle burns fat. 1lb of muscle is less dense than 1lb of fat as you can see here, thus giving you the appearance of being smaller.
2. More Calories Burned
When doing only cardio exercise your calorie burn stops when you stop exercising. While lifting weights has been proven to increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours after you stop…24 hours! The higher metabolism you have the more calories you will burn ALL DAY LONG. So let’s look at that a little more closely. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn roughly 35-50 more calories per day! While that doesn’t seem like a lot, think long term, 4 extra pounds of muscle can burn up to 10 extra pounds per year.
3. Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis
Lifting weights doesn’t only strengthen muscle, it also strengthens your bones. It increases bone density which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Research has also shown weight training can increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine. “One 12-month study that was conducted on postmenopausal women at Tufts University demonstrated 1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75% increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance with just two days per week of progressive strength training. The control group had losses in bone, strength and balance. Strength training programs can also have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures.”
4. Increased Heart Health
Cardiovascular exercise isn’t the only exercise that is cardiovascular. In fact, strength training can up your heart health, too. In one Appalachian State University study, people who performed 45 minutes of moderate-intensity resistance exercise lowered their blood pressure by 20 percent. That’s as good as, if not better than, the benefits associated with most blood pressure pills.
5. Improved Posture and Reduced Back Pain
Lifting weights builds muscle which means you are stronger. A stronger back, shoulders, and core helps to correct back posture so you can stand taller with a straight spine. And, a stronger core helps to alleviate and prevent back pain.
6. Enhanced Mood and Stress Relief
“Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands!” For the non-Legally Blonde fans let us break this down…exercise releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that help to improve mood and fight depression. An increase in these endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. They also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. So exercise, including lifting weights, can brighten your entire day and help you combat a bad one.
7. Mental Strength
Not only will weight lifting help increase your mood it will give you a whole different kind of strength you didn’t even know you had! There is nothing more badass feeling than coming off a serious lifting session with a sense of accomplishment. “Strength has a funny way of bleeding into all areas of your life, in the gym and out,” says Jen Sinkler, an Olympic lifting coach, kettlebell instructor, and author of Lift Weights Faster. By constantly challenging yourself to do things you never thought possible, your confidence grows. “Weight lifting empowers you,” she says.
Now knowing what you know, does this change your mind a little on picking up some weights the next time you go do a workout?
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