I’m sure you’ve heard it all before; lifting heavy weights makes women bulky, it’s bad for your joints, or once you stop lifting all your muscle will turn to fat. These statements are all untrue and feed the misconception that prevents many women from experiencing the many benefits of resistance training. Pumping iron can not only help you achieve that shapely, toned body but also has many other benefits for the mind and body.
Here are 5 reasons why lifting weights is not just for bodybuilders and why you should be adding some weight training to your exercise routine.
More calorie expenditure and fat loss.
One big advantage of weight training is that it allows your body to burn calories both during and after exercise. A “cardio” session may burn more calories during the workout, however, a heavy strength session can keep your metabolism elevated for hours and sometimes days after your workout, leading to a higher amount of total calories burned. More lean muscle mass in the body also leads to a higher Basal metabolic rate (BMR), the rate of calories you burn at rest. The higher your BMR, the more energy your body needs, so you will burn more calories just by doing everyday tasks like watching TV, brushing your teeth, or reading this blog.
Decreased risk of osteoporosis
Strength training is not only helpful for increasing muscular strength but also helps to keep the bones strong and healthy. Bones respond to the stresses of resistance training by increasing their density and growing stronger to help withstand the extra loads placed upon them. Keeping the bones strong is one of the best defences against developing osteoporosis later in life.
Improved mental health
Along with increased confidence and self-esteem, strength training helps to reduce stress levels and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. The release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals, caused by weight training is a great way to naturally stimulate the brain, improve your mood and boost energy levels. Next time you’ve had a bad day at work, a good gym session could just be the perfect remedy.
Improved sleep quality
Strength training can help promote good sleep patterns, allowing you to fall asleep faster, enter a deeper sleep and wake less often during the night. Quality sleep has many health benefits such as keeping your body’s hormones in balance, maintaining weight, reducing blood pressure and aiding in muscle growth and repair.
Reduced risk of injury
Strength training done correctly can safeguard the body against low back pain and other muscular-skeletal injuries by helping to improve posture and correct muscle imbalances. It can also Increase the strength of connective tissues and joints, important for preventing injury and helping relieve pain in conditions such as osteoarthritis. Balance and functional ability can also be improved or maintained through strength training, helping to improve sports performance and reduce the risk of falls.
These are all great reasons to add some strength training to your routine but aside from all that it is fun and can be incredibly empowering. To get the maximum benefit from strength training you should be adding it to your routine at least 2 -3 times per week. Don’t worry, you won’t magically get “bulky” overnight just because you start lifting more.