Very few women venture into the weight area at the gym. Those that do rarely go beyond the machines into the free-weight zone. It’s a huge missed opportunity. When women lift weights they gain added benefit way beyond what a cardio routine can offer. Here’s just a few.
Strength Gains When Women Lift Weights
Life requires that you lift and move heavy things. When you lift weights you train your body to handle movements that everyday life requires.
These strength gains do more than just aid in your movement today. Strong muscles, joints and bones aid in avoiding injury as we age. According to Kaiser Permanente women age 65-69 who break a hip are five times more likely to die within a year. When women lift weights the added strength and stability helps us avoid those injuries.
Engineer the Shape of Your Body
When women lift weights it changes the shape of the physique. Lean muscle adds curves where you want and can visually minimize areas where you don’t. If your butt has traveled half way down your thighs heavy glute exercises will bring it back up into position and boost its appearance.
Women shouldn’t fear getting bulky from heavy weights. Large muscle growth isn’t possible for women without chemical assistance. We don’t have the hormone levels required to build that type of muscle.
Gaining even moderate amounts of muscle requires eating extra calories over a long period of time combined with very specific weight training strategies. The normal woman trying to maintain her weight and fitness isn’t going to accidentally fall into that kind of growth.
Cardio-vascular activities aren’t the only way to burn fat. Weight training with heavy weights increases your heart rate and burns calories close to what they would if you were doing moderate cardio.
Restart Your Metabolism
The more lean muscle mass you have the more calories you burn. This means that every day just going through life you will burn more calories than you would if you had less muscle.
When we go on a diet our bodies shed muscle to account for the loss in energy. Women over the age of 40 experience this as a double whammy. We are already experiencing muscle loss due to age and now we lose even more due to diet. Lifting weights sends a signal to your body that you need the muscles so it needs to stop shedding them.
Keeping resistance training as part of your routine allows you to lose fat at a steady pace while protecting the lean muscle mass that keeps your metabolism revving.
Better Skin and Hair
Sweat is like a day at the spa. When you break a sweat your pores open up allowing a release of dirt and oils. It’s like getting a mini-makeover.
When women lift weights it triggers the release of endorphin, testosterone and growth hormones. These hormones boost skin elasticity, smoothness and overall appearance leaving you looking younger, longer.
Less Stress and Anxiety
Along with hormones that improve your skin lifting weights also emits hormones that boost your mood. As little as 15 minutes of weight training can improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress for hours. Instead of reaching for that donut or glass of wine hit the weight room instead!
When Women Lift Weights They Sleep Better
Lifting weights improves the ability to manage cortisol, the stress hormone that makes you store fat. Elevated levels of this hormone also impact your sleep.
When you can process cortisol efficiently you not only decrease anxiety you also sleep better. Sleep is a key factor in waking up looking younger and more refreshed!
Feeling better, looking better and getting better sleep all aid in building energy and desire for a healthy sex life. To add to that women will also experience a release of testosterone during weight lifting which also boosts the sex drive.
Decrease the Risk of Insulin Sensitivity
Lifting weights helps balance glucose and insulin levels reducing the risks of developing insulin sensitivity, a key factor that can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.
When Women Lift Weights They Balance Hormone Swings
Estrogen levels that swing wildly during the phases of peri-menopause and menopause change how our body stores fat. After 40 it seems like our bodies enjoy putting fat around our waist. These raging hormones are one of that factors that make it seem harder for women after 40 to lose or maintain weight and keep our shape.
Hormones released when women lift weights help to balance the fluctuations giving you a fighting chance of shedding the fat and keeping it off.
Should Women Lift Weights, Yes!
A routine that includes a balanced diet and resistance training is a necessity for women over 40 to maintain health and fitness. Aim for the heavier weights to effectively build muscle mass. If you dare head into the free weights. The act of lifting a free weight activates more muscle than the machine varieties allowing you to burn more calories and build more lean muscle mass.
See you in the free weights section!