InHealth & Fitness

Why You Should Weight Training- Starting Now

Weight training has a heap of health benefits.

Weight training includes any muscle-strengthening activity- whether that’s with hand weights like dumbbells, using machines at the gym, or using resistance bands or your bodyweight at home. Doing regular weight training at least 3 days a week has a heap of substantial health benefits.

Don’t worry, you probably won’t turn into the hulk.

You may give Xena a run for her money though.

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Lose body fat

Weight training builds muscle, and as our lean muscle increases so does our metabolism. A higher metabolism means that your body will use calories much more efficiently. Daily muscle contractions that occur whenever your body does literally anything at all contribute to how many calories you burn in each day. If you have more muscle contractions, you’ll burn more calories. If you have extra lean muscle mass, you’ll have extra muscle contractions and so burn extra calories.

Studies have found that the average woman who does strength training two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly 1kgof muscle and lose 1.5kgs of fat.

Alternatively, you should know that a 1kg of fat, takes up four times the space of a kilo of muscle. As you build muscle, you shed excess fat from your body, and your overall body mass decreases. But not all women experience a significant total weight loss through strength training, but they do burn off unnecessary fat and tone up their bodies.

I have gone from a size 28 to a size 20 in a year, with no change on the scales. When you take up weight training, be prepared for this, and for the arguments about what size you are now, and the ones with the trainer at the gym when they tell you that you must have skipped on the diet portion… even though you’ve dropped 3 sizes since you started… 3 months ago.

Get Strong

One of the most popular reasons that women avoid weight training is because they’re afraid of becoming bulky. This is a huge misconception as it physically can’t happen. Women just don’t have the much-needed testosterone to build muscle that men do.

Women have 10-30x less testosterone than men and have a much, much harder time gaining size from strength training. Instead, women develop muscle definition and strength without the size.

Your body shape will probably change, as your muscles become toned and your fat drops off, and you’ll find you’ll need to eat more than you expect, which may make you think that you’re turning into a bodybuilder. Unless you start taking a lot of supplements to get that shape purposely, you won’t get that super bulky shape.

Whether you do it in the gym, or at home using no equipment, the continual and gradual improvement creates a positive narrative in your life- you can do it, because you are doing it, and you have done it. Weight training also requires that you learn that failure is a normal part of progress.

These outlooks have immense repercussions that lead you to adjust your expectations to other areas of your life. You have a more positive outlook, which in turn makes you much more likely to try new things, and cope better with stress.

In short weight training helps you get mentally and physically stronger.

Decrease Risk ofOsteoporosis

Bone mass begins to drop slowly with age, but women are much more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. Weight training builds bone density, and it’s recommended by Osteoporosis Australia, that progressive resistance training be regular- at least 3x a week, and varied.

Weight Training Makes You Healthy

There is a tonne of internal benefits to weight training, for example:
  • Lowers high blood pressure
  • Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Lowers risk of breast cancer
  • Reduces risk of diabetes
  • Lowers LDL (low density = bad) cholesterol, and increases HDL (high density = good)
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Lower Risk of Injury

Weight exercise also boosts strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are super important in preventing injury and can alleviate pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will cause injury from everyday responsibilities and routine exercise to be less likely, and might even improve sports performance.

Incinerate more calories

Weight training has been proven to boost your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout, the more calories torched. After an intense workout, there is more excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means that there is an increase in oxygen consumption, which assists in breaking down fat stores in the body.

Improve posture and reduce back pain

Weight training will strengthen your back, shoulders and core, which helps to correct lousy posture so that you can stand up taller, with shoulders, back and spine straight.

A stronger back and core will also prevent lower back pain.

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Enhance mood and reduce stress

Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and help fight depression. An increase in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improve alertness and boost energy.

Weight-training can lighten your whole day or help combat a bad one.

Every woman wants to feel healthy, determined, and confident in everything we do, from using the change rooms in a department store, to moving furniture, to dealing with a stressful career, and heaps more besides.

Weight training can benefit you in all aspects of your life. Include it in your fitness plan and you’ll soon be feeling stronger, healthier and more confident!

Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

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