Advantages of Strength Training
Many women avoid strength training. This is often for one of three reasons, if not all three. Some women love going to the gym and enjoying classes or hitting the cardio machines but are terrified of going over to the weights area. They see huge muscle men lifting massive weights, and they are intimidated. They don’t want to look like they don’t know what they are doing, or they worry about getting laughed at when they lift much smaller weights. Other women honestly believe that they are too weak to lift weights. They think that they physically won’t be able to do it. Especially if they are new to the gym or have only ever done cardio exercises. Many women also worry that if they lift weights, they’ll end up with big muscles and six packs. Some women want this, but for others, it’s too much. They want to be slim and toned but don’t like the idea of looking muscular.
Well, there is no need for any of these worries. As far as the first two worries go, it’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere. Even the slowest runner in the park, the one that has to stop every 10 yards, or can only jog for a few seconds at a time, is running much faster and doing much more for themselves than the person sitting on the sofa watching Netflix. You were new to cardio once too, as was everyone else in the gym. No one will laugh, and there is always help available if you need it. There are also more women than ever lifting weights. And not just those super strong ultra-fit women. Normal, everyday women are turning to strength training to improve their fitness, it’s certainly not just for men.
When it comes to worries about becoming too muscular, these are usually unfounded. Men have significantly more muscle mass and skeletal muscle than women. Their muscle is also 5-10 percent stronger than womens when compared pound for pound. Women also have more essential fat than men, which won’t turn into muscle and is needed just as it is. This means that while women can become stronger, they are unlikely to become bulky and overly muscular and shouldn’t worry about it.
Strength training, even a little each week, teamed with cardio exercises can have some huge benefits on your body, and it’s definitely worth braving your fears for. Here’s a look at some of them.
Women can become increasingly susceptible to osteoporosis and bone loss as they age. This can lead to weak bones and an increased risk of breakages or damage, as well as bone cancer. Women are at a higher risk because they have lighter skeletons than men, and even a small amount of loss can do damage.
Strength training doesn’t just build muscle; it can also increase bone density and strength. Either preventing bone loss or slowing its effects.
Cardio exercise burns more calories. We all know this. So, when we are trying to lose or control our weight, we increase our cardio activity and often ignore strength training completely.
One of the reasons weight training burns fewer calories during the exercise is that your body moves much less, and for much less time, hardly increasing your heart rate at all. Cardio is constant movement, for a longer time frame, with your heart rate entering a fat burning zone very quickly, and staying there until you stop exercising. But, the after-effects are different. As soon as you finish a run, your heart rate starts to drop, and you stop burning extra calories almost immediately. So, you may burn off 500 calories on your run, but then, that’s it.
When you lift weights, you build and work your muscles. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. So, even after your heart rate has dropped, your metabolism stays high, and you keep burning calories at a higher rate. Even if you go home and sit on the sofa, you’ll be burning up to 3 times more calories than usual while doing the same. This can last for up to 36 hours after you finish exercising.
Improved Cardio Performance
Cardio workouts such as swimming or running, require the use of your muscles. Your arms and legs propel you forward and keep you going. The stronger they are, the more powerful your movements will be. You’ll be able to move much faster, in the same amount of time.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Exercise strengthens your muscles and bones, but it also improves your core strength and posture. All of these things mean that you are much less likely to get injured, and, if you do, you’ll recover much faster and return to your previous strength and fitness more easily.
Looking good isn’t all about weight loss and size. You can look fantastic without actually losing any weight or dropping a dress size, by toning up. Strength training tones and lengthens your muscles, making your body look firm and tight. Conversely, some women that lose a lot of weight through cardio exercise, and diet, without any strength training can end up looking flabby and soft, even if they’ve dropped sizes. For the best results, you want to team cardio, strength Sportsfuel Supplements and a healthy diet.
Strength training offers you easy ways to measure your progress, as well as a fantastic adrenaline rush when you push yourself. This can have a positive effect on your mood and confidence levels.
If you like the idea of these benefits, but can’t quite get over the fear of hitting the weights at the gym, there is a lot that you can do at home. Check out workout videos on YouTube, using cans or bottles of water instead of weights if you want to start light. Or, have a go at some Pilates classes. Matt Pilates can be ideal strength training for women, as it focuses on your core muscles and improves your posture, giving you a full body workout, using only your body weight as resistance.