Strong is the new healthy, as more and more women are recognizing the benefits of strength training. Let’s get the details on all the ways it benefits your health.
Exercise is great. The virtues of exercise are spread far and wide:
- Helps with weight management.
- Decreases workplace stress.
- Improves your mood.
- Improves chronic disease risks.
- Improves your sleep.
The list of health benefits is long.
Thanks to CrossFit, weightlifting for women is slowly entering the mainstream, despite many women’s magazines still pushing “light” weights and high reps for a “toned” but not “muscular” look (which is impossible by the way. What do you think you’re toning?). There are growing online communities such as Girls Gone Strong and Girls Who Powerlift where you can find inspiration.
Strength training is the most empowering way that women can meet any and all of their health goals. Here’s why:
1. It’s training for your life.
Whether it’s carrying in groceries, picking up a child, or moving furniture, there are many instances in our daily lives where we ask our bodies to do more than just move our own weight around. Weight training prepares our bodies for those moments – not just with the practice of moving additional weight, but also with the regular practice of lifting objects using proper form, which helps reduce the risk of injuring ourselves in our day-to-day life. Weight training also improves grip-strength, making opening those pesky pickle jars a breeze.
2. You will age gracefully.
You naturally lose muscle mass as you get older, and it starts happening sooner than you think. Starting in your 30’s, physically inactive people can lose 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade. This slow loss can create noticeable problems, especially as the decades start to stack up.
How many times have you seen a person in their 70s, or even late 60s, unable to stand up from a chair without assistance? That’s a direct result of losing muscle in their legs. The great news is that it’s preventable! Or, if it’s already happening, you can slow or even reverse some of the damage of muscle loss. How? By starting a strength training program. And you can start at any age.
3. You will feel like a bada$$.
Unlike cardiovascular exercise, the results of strength training are obvious almost immediately. If you train 2-3 times per week, you’ll see progress each week as you’re able to do more reps or lift heavier weight. You may notice just how much stronger you are as you are making a trip up 3 flights of stairs with both hands full of grocery bags without a struggle. You will find yourself easily lifting your carry-on luggage up into the overhead compartment, or carry a 35-pound bag of dog food to your car. All of these moments will give you a self-esteem boost you may not have even realized you needed.
Weight training can be intimidating when you’re first getting started. Figuring out what equipment to use, how to use it, and how to lift safely can seem overwhelming. If you want to get started, but don’t know where to start, work with a certified personal trainer to show you the ropes.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: BERNARD GABRIEL
Taryn Schubert, RD is a Los Angeles-based Registered Dietitian and NASM Certified Personal Trainer helping people create healthy diets that fit their lifestyle. With her specialty in adult weight management and mindful eating, Taryn believes food should be a source of joy and nourishment, not “good” or “bad” in the way society perpetuates. Visit Taryn and begin creating your healthier relationship with food.