It’s a fact that increasing and maintaining adequate muscle mass is one of the best ways to keep body fat at bay and to improve overall fitness, particularly as we age.
We also know that weight lifting is the best way to build muscle mass. Still, the number of women who actually participate in any formal or consistent weight training workout is still extremely low.
Most women who exercise spend most of their gym time on cardiovascular exercise. Whatever your reasons for avoiding the weights, if you are a woman, here are a few reasons why you need to take strength training seriously.
1. You will be physically stronger
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. Chores will be easier, lifting kids, groceries and laundry will no longer push you to the max.
If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury. Research also shows that women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.
2. You will reduce your risk of injury, back pain and arthritis
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury.
A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
3. You will reduce your risk of diabetes
Doctors note that weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilisation in the body by 23 percent in four months.
4. It is never too late to benefit
Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.
5. You will improve your attitude and fight depression
A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did.
Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression.