Even as personal trainers, I’m sure there is one thing we can all agree on: strength training is a fantastic approach to improving your health and staying in shape, regardless of your age or your fitness goals. And when it comes to being healthy into old age, strength training is particularly important.
However, if you’re like most women (and many men), you might be wondering why this kind of training is so beneficial. The truth is that resistance training—which involves doing activities like lifting weights and squats—has a number of benefits for people of all ages and abilities. So let’s go through eight reasons why every woman should start lifting weights today!
1. Building muscle helps you burn more fat.
When you build muscle, it helps your body burn more calories. This is because muscles can be used for all sorts of things—it’s not just for lifting heavy things! In fact, building muscle can actually help you lose fat by providing a greater metabolic rate and burning more calories. That’s because fat stores are our body’s way of storing energy in case we need it later, but unlike muscle tissue which burns energy as fuel constantly as long as we’re moving around or awake (or even asleep).
Faster metabolism: Your metabolic rate refers to how quickly your body converts food into usable energy and wastes the rest via heat loss (thermogenesis). The faster this process happens, the greater number of calories burned per day. When you build lean mass through strength training—especially resistance training with weights—you increase the amount of lean tissue in your body which acts like an engine that needs fuel to run efficiently. This means that even when at rest or sleeping during “starvation mode” times such as early morning hours while fasting during Ramadan; having extra muscles means they continue using up stored glycogen (glycogen is stored glucose) instead of fatty acids!
2. You’ll look better and feel more confident.
Another great reason to start strength training is that it will make you look better.
If you’re not sure what I mean by this, think about your favourite actors and actresses. How many of them lift weights? The answer is most of them. Strength training helps increase muscle tone and definition in your body, which makes you look more toned and fit overall (not to mention how much stronger you’ll feel).
It also helps you stand up straighter and look more confident, which will make people think you’re more attractive. It’s a fact that the best way to lose weight is by increasing your muscle mass. And the sense of achievement that comes with strength training will really boost your confidence level as any task in front of you just feels a lot easier!
3. You can fight osteoporosis.
One of the biggest reasons women should strength train is because it can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (1), women are at greater risk for osteoporosis than men because they have less healthy estrogen levels and less muscle mass.
Weight-bearing exercises—like walking, jogging, hiking or dancing—are excellent ways to build bone density as well as strengthen muscles through resistance training. It’s recommended that you incorporate both types of exercise into your routine: weight-bearing exercises will improve bone health while resistance training will keep your muscles strong so they don’t break down from overuse during physical activity or everyday life activities like lifting groceries out of the car trunk or removing heavy clothing from a washer/dryer after doing laundry.
The NOF recommends strength training two days per week with 8-10 repetitions per set using eight different exercises in each session. Or better yet, get a customised personal training program for yourself where you’ll be coached with the best exercises suitable only for you.
4. You can reduce your stress.
Strength training can have a positive effect on your mood and stress levels. The release of endorphins during exercise, in particular strength training, can enhance your mood and reduce anxiety.
The benefits don’t stop there. A study (2) published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that women who completed a 12-week resistance training program had lower levels of cortisol (a hormone that’s released when you’re stressed) than women who did not participate in the program.
5. You can protect yourself from injuries.
Strength training can help you prevent injuries. We have helped plenty of clients to improve their sport through personal training.
Sports that require lots of running, jumping, and cutting (like tennis) increase the risk of overuse injuries. When you strength train, you are able to get stronger and better at your sport. This will also increase your bone density which helps protect against fractures that occur from falls or contact with others such as when playing badminton, tennis or even at work. Finally, a strong muscle is less likely to tear than a weak muscle because it has better endurance when placed under stress during activities (like jogging or hiking).
6. You can boost your energy levels.
Strength training can help you boost your energy levels by balancing the hormones that affect them.
The body’s endocrine system, which releases hormones into the bloodstream, controls many body functions including metabolism and mood. Strength training has been found to regulate cortisol levels, which in turn helps reduce stress and improve sleep quality. This can lead to feeling more alert during the day, as well as an increase in energy levels because of better restful sleep at night.
7. You’ll increase your mobility.
Strength training can improve your mobility, balance, and coordination. This is because the muscles you use during strength training are also the muscles that help you move more easily throughout the day. For example, if you lift weights with exercises like lunges with balancing exercises every other day for three weeks (or even two days a week for six weeks), then by the end of these two months, you’ll be able to walk faster without losing balance as much as before.
Your ability to move freely throughout life is key in preventing falls and injuries—and regular strength training makes this easier!
8. You can improve your memory and cognitive function in later life.
As you get older, your memory and cognitive function may decline. Strength training is one of the best ways to improve your brain health, especially as you grow old. The benefits of strength training for older adults include:
- Greater mobility and flexibility in muscles
- Better coordination between body parts
- Increased bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower percentage body fat (this will help you look better too!)
A study done by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (3) showed that after 2 years of strength training, the women in the exercise group had experienced 31% fewer falls (37% fewer falls resulting in a moderate or severe injury).
To stay healthy, fit, and active into old age, it’s important to strength train regularly at any stage of life.
As you age, maintaining a healthy body is important to help prevent disease and improve your quality of life. Strength training can improve muscular strength, endurance, and balance—all of which play an important role in staying healthy. It also helps you look and feel younger.
In addition to being beneficial for older adults, strength training is beneficial for people at any stage in life—including women who are pregnant or postpartum. Research shows that regular resistance exercise can strengthen the muscles around the pelvis, lower back and your core, making it easier for you to maintain an upright posture when carrying things around like babies and groceries. And many studies have linked physical activity with fewer back problems during pregnancy or after giving birth.
By following these tips and incorporating strength training into your routine, you can be on your way to a healthier body and mind. If you still have questions about strength training or any other health-related topic, feel free to drop a message here. We’d be happy to answer them!
- “The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s Position Statement on Peak Bone Mass Development and Lifestyle Factors: A Systematic Review and Implementation Recommendations – PubMed.” PubMed, 1 Apr. 2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26856587.
- Bell, G., Syrotuik, D., Socha, T., Maclean, I., & Quinney, H. A. (1997). Effect of strength training and concurrent strength and endurance training on strength, testosterone, and cortisol. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 11(1), 57-64.
- Seguin, R., & Nelson, M. E. (2003). The benefits of strength training for older adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 25(3), 141-149.