According to the recommendations by health authorities, men and women should aim at a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity for 5 days a week (1). But the recommendations include at least 2 days of strength training, even if some women are against the idea of doing bodyweight exercises of lifting weights at the gym.
Is there any additional benefit in strength training? Does it depend on a woman’s goal, or is it a recommendation made for all of us regardless of our gender?
In this article, you will find the reasons why most instructors recommend strength training as a part of any exercise routine.
Lifting weights and fitness goals
A significant number of women go to the gym motivated by fitness goals. But either if you’re after a sculptured body or want to lose a few pounds, lifting weights is still an excellent idea. Contrary to the myth of strength training, lifting weights won’t make a woman lose her feminine body. Quite the opposite, because it is the fastest way to tone the body and get faster results (2).
Strength training is equally important if your fitness goal is reducing your size or bulking up. What changes is the intensity and form of training. You may also need supplements according to each goal, and follow a smart dietary plan that will help you achieve the body of your dreams.
But why is strength training recommended when you’re trying to lose weight?
Strength training for weight loss
Strength training is an essential part of weight loss, and studies show that combining aerobic activity (cardio) with anaerobic exercise (lifting weights) speeds up weight loss and helps you maintain a healthier weight for a long time (3).
What strength training does to your body is basically increasing your resting metabolic rate. This is a number that represents how many calories you burn every day to stay living without counting physical activity. Breathing in and out, maintaining your heart beating, and your brain functioning requires energy, and even if you’re sedentary at home, you will be burning a given number of calories. Even when you don’t use your muscles, they still burn calories, and the more muscle you have, the more calories they will burn (4).
Thus, we can say that strength training is what speeds up your metabolism. It forces your body to burn more calories and goes perfect for weight-loss when combined with a low-calorie diet.
Strength training maintains a woman’s health
Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, strength training has many health benefits for young and aging women:
- It helps you preserve your muscle mass, which is often reduced as we age (5)
- It contributes to bone mineralization and reduces the risk of fractures and osteoporosis (6).
- Strength training provides a better balance and control of your body, reducing the risk of falling (7).
- Lifting weight reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by lowering blood pressure and controlling your triglycerides and cholesterol levels (8).
- Similar to aerobic exercise, strength training contributes to releasing endorphins, improving your mood, and combating stress (9).
- It prevents back pain in women and reduces the risk of arthritis (10).
Thus, either if you’re exercising for fitness goals or personal health, strength training has many benefits for women. Forget the myth about bulking up and grab a pair of dumbbells, and you will end up with a healthier body and reach your goals faster.
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