Once upon a time, women lifting weights was considered taboo; instead they were encouraged to simply "tone" and avoid getting "too bulky!" Thankfully, more and more females are seeing the significance of incorporating resistance training into their exercise regimen and it only has a little to do with appearance.
Let's get one thing out in the open- women just do not have the hormone capacity to become bulky like a male (naturally, at least.) But it has become understood that, for the health and safety of our bodies as we age, it is imperative that females lift weights, and often! According to a study done by ABC News, participating in regular weight training results in better management of a healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. In that same study, they explain that for each decade after our 30's, women lose anywhere from 3 to 5% of our muscle mass, and therefore function, if they do not partake in regular weight training. This is referred to as sarcopenia, and can be reversed!
It's no secret that exercise allows our bodies to move more efficiently and the age old saying of "if you don't use it, you'll lose it" actually holds some truth. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can, over time, lead to much weaker muscles and bones leaving everyone, not just women, prone to injury. "Building muscle can fight back against that process. Lifting something heavy, such as a dumbbell, makes bones denser which is especially beneficial to women who tend to be more likely to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis." (TIME magazine, Anthony Hackney.)
If preventing muscle and bone loss isn't enough to persuade you, lifting weights can also help with those pesky aches and pains you might be experiencing as you get older. With such a large percentage of people facing arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis; desperate for relief- it's so important to look beyond how to mask the pain and to figure out how to attack the cause head on. For example, someone who experiences lower back pain might simply be suffering from a very weak core and, in turn, strengthening their core will alleviate most, if not all, pain without becoming reliant on an anti-inflammatory medication. Same goes for knee pain coming from an imbalance in muscle strength between your quadriceps and hamstrings. Learning how to appropriately lift weights can quite literally change the way you live!
For someone who has never lifted weights before, it can feel very overwhelming to take on by yourself. If you have questions on this topic or would like to meet for a complimentary personal training session to get yourself started on a resistance training program, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. It's never too late to get started towards a healthier you!
Written by Milestone personal trainer, Taylor Fuller. To schedule personal training with Taylor, please call: (502) 896-3900 x 115.