Strength training is vital to both men and women when it comes to living longer, happier, healthier lives. However, women are more likely to find themselves stepping onto a treadmill or climbing onto a stair climber, instead of picking up a barbell or a set of heavy dumbbells. Before I list the top five reasons women should lift weights, check out this video of Bonnie, who started to see the changes she wanted in her body when she got off the treadmill and into lifting weights.
Top Five (5) Reasons Women Should Lift Weights
- Increase Your Strength. Research shows that moderate strength training (2x/wk) can increase strength by upwards of 50 %. This increase in strength occurs in a person getting off the couch and into the gym for the first time. And we’re not talking about “bodybuilder physique” strong, either. We’re talking about “strong enough to better take care of yourself” strong. Daily tasks — carrying your kids, picking up your groceries, and working in the yard — are easier when you are stronger. The majority of people in assisted living centers or nursing homes are not there because of some debilitating disease, but because they are too weak to help themselves.
- Burn More Fat. As you increase your lean muscle, you also will increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of calories a person needs to keep the body functioning at rest… think a lazy day of sleep followed by eighteen hours of Netflix. Muscle tissue burns 2-4x as many calories in a day as the same amount of fatty tissue would burn. Adding lean muscle mass will be one of the best ways to help maintain a desired bodyweight over a long duration.
- Decrease the Risk of Osteoporosis. Bones remodel and increase their strength in response to stress. When my daughter broke her leg swinging on monkey bars while in the 1st grade, her leg was in a cast. After three months of not putting her weight on her leg, it was two inches shorter than the other one. Her treatment? Hours of physical therapy jumping and putting her leg under load. Three months later, her legs were the same length and she could run without a limp. As we age, hip fractures represent one of the most important causes of mortality in elderly people. The chances of death after suffering a hip fracture is estimated at 5-10 % within one month of the fracture and 20 %-30 % within one year.
- Reduce your Injury Risk. Many women avoid strength training because of a fear of getting hurt. But the opposite is true! Strength training — picking up something heavy and moving it around — builds stronger muscles and connective tissues. Stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments decrease injury risks. Also, the increase in strength also protects your joints.
- Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes. It is HIGHLY likely that you or someone you love has Type II diabetes, which is completely preventable. A well-balanced diet, which includes protein, fats, vegetables, (and yes!) some carbohydrates, may be the most important factor in determining a person’s propensity for Type II diabetes, strength training helps the body better respond to insulin. To learn more about how CrossFit can impact a life with diabetes, click to watch Oscar’s story.