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Why Women Should Start Strength Training

Many women think that cardio and a stationary bike are the only tools to female fitness. Here's how hitting the weights can help your overall health.
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Just when you thought all you had to do was hit the gym, run for an hour and you’re done-- now it’s time to learn about the benefits of strength training. Yes, it’s good for women just as it is for men – and you don’t need to look like Hulk Hogan either.

Benefit No. 1: Raise Your Metabolic Rate
If you’re looking for a way to eat a little more but not pack on the pounds – weight training is it.

When you lift, you put on lean muscle mass and that helps you burn more calories – even when you just sit on the couch.

How much exactly? Up to fifty calories for every pound of lean muscle mass.

Benefit No. 2: Shed Fat
Strength train two or three times a week and you could lose up to 3.5 pounds of fat a week with a balanced diet, according to researcher Wayne Westcott, PhD[1].

Benefit No. 3: Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis
Lifting weights can help you increase your bone density and can even restore it.

Benefit No. 4: Prevent Injury
If you play any sports or do cardio exercise during your other gym days, you should take up strength training. Making your muscles and tendons stronger will help you from becoming injured.

Benefit No. 5: Better Balance
Building strength can improve your balance and everyone needs better balance. This can help you prevent injury as well.

Benefits No. 6: Reduce Risk of Disease
Weight lifting can improve your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels.

Benefit No. 6: Feel Better About Life
Cardio isn’t the only type of exercise that helps you fight depression. Weight lifting does the same, according to a Harvard study[2].

Benefit No. 7: More After Gym Burn
You could burn about 100 calories for up to an hour after you’re done lifting, according to The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research[3].

Benefit No. 8: Target Trouble Zones
Strength training seems to help people target their trouble zones better. Cardio will help you lose weight but everywhere, and sometimes where you don’t want to lose it. Weight lifting can help you lose it in those troublesome zones, such as your belly, according to a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham[3].

Benefit No. 9: Less Sleepy
According to MayoClinic, the more you strength train, the less tired you’ll feel.

Benefit No. 10: Stand Straighter
Improve your posture by strengthening your back muscles. It will help you feel better about yourself too.

Benefit No. 11: Better Digestion
After three months, you could be much more regular and that could decrease your risk for colon cancer, according to research director, Dr. Wayne Westcott of South Shore YMCA[4].

Benefit No. 12: Tighter Skin
Build muscles to fill stretched skin and it could look tight and smooth.

Before You Start Your Weight Training
Strength training may not make you huff and puff as much as cardio but it does deplete your body of essential vitamins just as much. Therefore, before you head to the gym, order up some of the most important vitamins:

  • Iron
  • B Vitamins
  • Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Antioxidants
  • Zinc

If you don’t eat a well-balanced diet, it may be a good idea to start taking a multivitamin instead. There are many especially designed for the active women that will give you exactly what you need when doing weight training and cardio.

Speak to Your Doctor
One more thing before you start a new exercise and vitamin regimen, speak to your doctor. You need to make sure you are able to lift weight before you go in the gym and do it. You don’t want to risk injury.

 

Sources

  1. [1] - http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/women/a/aa051601a.htm
  2. [2] - http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/women/a/aa051601a.htm
  3. [3] - http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/weight-training-tips
  4. [4] - http://befitandstrong.com/strength-training-benefits-for-women-way-more-than-just-a-flat-sexy-stomach/
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