Should women lift weights?

Yes yes yes!!

Women should absolutely lift weights!

How many times have I been lifting weights in the gym when men come up to me and say "Hey that can't be healthy for a woman to be lifting weights, especially not such heavy weights!" Has this happened to you? Or are you one of those people who say this??

There are so many reasons why women should be doing weight training. We discussed in a previous post why women CAN lift weights without the fear of getting big and bulky. Here we will discuss why women SHOULD lift weights.

More effective fat loss

As well as looking nice and toned, many women want to lose the extra weight, to get back into those jeans they love, to look more trim. Well, a huge advantage to weight training is the body's ability to burn calories during and after a workout. Studies have shown that after weight training, the metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours after the workout, therefore burning more calories! Sounds good right?!

While cardio exercise can burn lots of calories during the workout itself (even more than strength training), in order to generate a high post-workout calorie burn, you would need to be doing it for a long duration of time or at a very high intensity. Typically, this can be difficult for those carrying extra weight, and individuals who are capable of doing such a thing tend not to be concerned with fat loss.

Burn more calories

Your muscle mass largely determines your resting metabolic rate (RMR). We are constantly burning calories all day long whether we are walking, sitting, or sleeping. (I bet that got your attention!) RMR is how many calories our body is burning whilst in a resting state. Weight training builds more muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn!

Bone health

As you age, you are at risk of losing muscle mass as well as bone mass. Ever heard of osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disorder which causes bones to become weak and brittle and therefore far more susceptible to fractures. It is most common among postmenopausal women because the body no longer secretes oestrogen. When there are lower levels of oestrogen, the osteoblasts (the cells that are responsible for bone formation) aren't able to effectively produce bone. Bones adapt to the loads under which they are placed. Weight training makes your bones denser because you have to overcome gravity, causing your muscles to pull on your bones, stimulating the osteoblasts for bone tissue growth. Therefore resistance training is a great way to combat loss of bone mass and lower the risks of osteoporosis.

Reduce risk of breast cancer

I bet this is new to you! Studies have shown that physical activity can reduce the risks of developing breast cancer in both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. However, substantial weight gain can negate these benefits, so it is important to maintain a healthy weight too.

Not only that, research has shown that weight lifting keeps breast cancer survivors healthy! Survivors of breast cancer are at greater risk of developing frailty; decreased muscle strength, weak bones, and becoming easily tired, all of which are improved with strength training!

The above reasons are more specific to women. Of course there are many other health benefits to strength training for men and women alike. Strength training lowers blood pressure, improves balance and stability, strengthens the joints preventing/reducing symptoms of arthritis, lowers risks of heart disease, improves insulin sensitivity (role in preventing/treating diabetes), improves cholesterol etc.

Do you need more convincing?!

Women, pick up a pair of weights now and you'll never look back!

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