Over recent years, more and more arguments have risen about women and weight training. Many women, who attend a gym or just work out regularly at home, seem to stick to cardiovascular activities. We women have been told over the years that cardio burns calories, and calories in turn, burn fat. Though this is entirely true, we have also been told that muscle training adds bulk to the body. Most of us don’t want to be big and bulky, so we stick to cardio. I have come to find that weight training can be very beneficial for women as well, and a few of those myths out there don’t hold any truth.
Us women can get ourselves into some laborious chores during our daily routines. Whether this be carrying groceries (possibly up numerous stairs,) cleaning, lugging kids around/keeping up with energetic young ones, and just moving storage around, lifting weights will make us physically stronger. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want to be “bulky” right? Well guess what, women don’t gain bulk, we gain tone and definition…perfect! This is because of muscle hypertrophy, which is what leads to bulkiness. But on the bright side, muscle hypertrophy is caused by certain hormones that women lack compared to men. This is not to say we will not benefit from lifting weights, it only means that we will never achieve the same bulk that men do (unless of course we do so unaturally).
I have also found great research that explains how weight lifting can reduce your risks for illness and disease. Osteoporosis is one major disease that women can be more associated with, but with a little weight training, we can help prevent this. From what I learned in aerobics training, training the core muscles are very important to the rest of your body. Weight training can actually increase spinal bone mineral density. Stronger core muscles and bones can be a woman’s best guard against osteoporosis and other bone and muscular diseases.
Be gone back pain and arthritis! Weight training also beneficially strengthens joint stability. I recently have been to a chiropractor for low-back pain. He told me that my joints are a little out of place due to the curve of my spine. He gave me some exercises that would strengthen my back, and essentially, correcting and getting rid of lower back pain. The exercises I found the most helpful are Planks, crunches, and reverse crunches (working abs at the same time!).
Did you say weight loss? Yes, lifting weights does help women lose body fat as well as cardio. A study shows that women who strength train 2-3 times a week for two whole months will gain 2lbs of muscle and LOSE up to 3.5 lbs of body fat. This is because as you are exercising (as with any frequent exercise,) you are increasing your metabolism, which helps to burn more calories throughout the day!