Photo by John Arano on Unsplash
Being active and getting enough exercise is an important part of staying healthy and feeling good. It’s also important for managing your weight and can lower your risk of a number of health conditions in the future.
When it comes to types of exercise, there are a lot of misconceptions about weight training, especially for women. Years of misinformation have led people to believe that the only way to reach your weight goals is to spend hours and hours on cardio machines and to stay away from weights unless you want to bulk up.
So why is weight training great for women’s fitness and what are the myths surrounding it?
Weights will make you bulky
When people think of lifting weights, they often think of powerlifters or those people who compete in bodybuilding competitions. And while there’s nothing wrong with muscles on a woman, it’s not the look that many people want.
Unless you’re training at an elite level, eating more calories, and using supplements, you won’t bulk up. It also takes a long time so you won’t suddenly wake up ‘bulky’. In fact, because muscle takes up less space than fat on your body, you will actually look leaner.
Weight training also isn’t just about lifting huge weights, it can be home dumbbell exercises or bodyweight exercises you can do without equipment.
You can’t lose weight
It’s true that while you’re actually doing the weight training, you’ll be burning fewer calories per session than say, running on the treadmill. But the weight loss effects of weight training go much further. Once you’ve finished your session, your body will continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours, which is not the case with cardio.
It also takes more calories to maintain muscle. So by building up your lean muscle mass, you’re going to be using more calories even when you’re doing nothing.
Lifting heavy weights is dangerous for women
Safe weight training is all about the correct techniques and using suitable weights, this goes for both men and women. While men usually lift heavier weights than women, it’s all down to your overall goals and what you’re trying to achieve.
The importance of weight training for women
Rather than avoid weight training, women should embrace it as part of their overall health regime in order to get a number of benefits.
Preserve muscle mass
As we get older, our muscle mass begins to decrease which can lead to changes in our body and metabolism. Preserving your muscle mass is important to reduce this as much as possible. You aren’t going to be able to do this with cardio alone.
Keep your bones strong
Another side effect of aging is decreased bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis and broken bones. Again, cardio isn’t going to affect your bone density or strengthen your joints and tendons.
Improve your body image
Weight training helps you to feel strong and confident and able to cope with everyday tasks much more easily. Not only will you start to look better to yourself, but you will also feel better too.
It helps with everyday activities
Strength training has the benefit of being functional too. After all, how many of the things we do every day require balance and strength? Carrying bags, or kids, moving things around the home.
A balanced exercise program
As you can see from the list above, weight training has so many benefits to your overall mental and physical health. Incorporating it into your regular exercise program, alongside cardio activities will give you a great balance.
If you’re interested in getting into weights or bodyweight exercises, there are many ways to do this. It can feel intimidating at first, especially if you don’t feel particularly strong or coordinated, but the benefits are well worth it. If you’re planning on using weights at the gym, then you should ask an instructor to show you how to use proper techniques, so you don’t injure yourself lifting too fast or too heavy.
Exercising at home? There are many different types of home equipment you can buy if you don’t want to have to join a gym. There are also a number of online exercise platforms you can subscribe to to keep you motivated.
It’s time to drop the old, inaccurate assumptions about weight training for women. They are a perfect way to look and feel great while improving your health both now and for years to come. So what are you waiting for?
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