9 Reasons Why Weightlifting Is Great for Women

9 Reasons Why Weightlifting Is Great for Women

Many women believe that the only way to lose weight is to do cardiovascular exercise. So they jog or take aerobics classes five times a week. Eventually, though, they notice that while their bodies are a little smaller, there are still a lot of flabby and jiggly bits.

Though aerobic exercise is important for good health, it’s only half of the equation.

For optimal fitness, longevity, and to achieve a lean body, weight training is essential. So, if you avoid pumping iron because you’re afraid of getting “bulky,” you’re missing out on one of the best fat-burning methods around.

 

Why Strength Training Isn’t Only for Increasing Muscle Mass:

 

Though the scale might not reflect your progress in the way you’d anticipate, you’ll see the transformation happening. The size of your body will shrink as you shed fat and build muscle, but you should note that your weight may not change as dramatically as you expect.

If you’re still not convinced that you need to lift weights, here are nine reasons you that might make you reconsider.

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1. You Burn More Fat

woman lifting weights -- burn more fat -- weight lifting for women

Researchers at Tufts University found that when overweight women lifted heavy weights twice a week, they lost an average of 14.6 pounds of fat and gained 1.4 pounds of muscle.

The control group, women who dieted but didn’t lift weights, lost only 9.2 pounds of fat and gained no muscle.

When you do an intense weight training program, your metabolism can stay elevated and you can continue to burn more calories (and fat!) for up to 48 hours after you work out. During regular cardio exercise, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.

 

2. You Can Change Your Body Shape

change your body shape -- weightlifting for women

You may think your genes determine how you look, but that’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves, and help avoid the “middle-age spread.”

So, no, you won’t bulk up — women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do. If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat.

 

3. You Can Get Stronger and More Confident

two woman happy and lifting weights -- get strong and more confident -- weightlifting for women

Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in six months, and being strong is empowering. So, not only can weightlifting improve your physical strength, but it can also help you build emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

 

4. It Can Help You Build Strong Bones

build strong bones -- weightlifting for women

It’s been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight.

Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.

 

5. It Can Improve Your Mood

boosts mood -- weightlifting for women

You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help improve mood, and weightlifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training.

 

6. As Well as Your Sports Fitness

woman playing soccer with son -- improve sports fitness -- weightlifting for women

You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, skiing, or whatever sport you enjoy.

 

7. It Can Help Reduce Injuries

reduce injury -- weightlifting for women

Weightlifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life.

It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis. A study conducted at the University of Wales in Bangor, United Kingdom, found that mildly disabled participants who lifted weights for 12 weeks increased the frequency and intensity at which they could work, with less pain and increased range of movement.

 

8. It Can Get You Heart Healthy

get healthy heart -- weightlifting for women

More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping.

Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. Studied show that people who do 30 minutes of weightlifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.

 

9. You Can Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

maintain healthy blood sugar levels -- weightlifting for women

In addition to keeping your heart strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood.

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