In almost 20 years of owning and managing a women’s only fitness center, as well as being in the fitness industry long enough to recognize a trend in women’s exercise routine, there are 2 rooms in the our gym that are the busiest: the cardio room and the group Ex. room…or in the early days, we called it the aerobics room. The least busiest and one of the more important rooms for women to utilize is the “workout room” (weights, selectorize, and cable machines).
Strength training is often the missing component in the workout routines of many women. Building lean muscle does more for women than “sculpting their physique”. The benefits of strength training are reason enough to consider a change in focus from all cardio to a balanced routine that includes weights.
Here are a few reasons why women should strength train:
Fight the Signs of Aging: As we age, there is a reduction in muscle mass as early as in our twenties, as well as a reduction in skin elasticity. Strength Training can result in firmer skin, weight management, a brighter complexion and a balanced and limber physique that can make you appear younger and more vibrant.
Improved Mood: By elevating your level of endorphins, making you feeling great during and after each session, strength training is a natural anti-depressant. Strength training helps you get more restful sleep, improves your self confidence, relieves stress and tension. Women who strength train note an improvement in their mood and general well-being during the weeks and months as regular and consistent strength training sessions are added into their routine.
Burn More Fat: Using resistance during your workouts helps build lean muscle, and since lean muscle burns more calories than fat, strength training is more effective weight loss method then endless hours of cardio. More lean muscle also contributes to incased metabolism and will help you maintain a healthy weight.
Build Stronger Bones: Muscle mass and bone density naturally diminish with age, but by strength training, women can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Research from Everyday Health states that about 68 percent of the 44 million Americans at risk for osteoporosis are women. Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to strength training by becoming stronger and denser. The best exercises for building bones are weight bearing exercises such as squats, pushups and dumbbell bicep curls and Olympic lifting techniques. Using the barbell performing movements like the snatches, clean and jerks, and overhead squats is one of the most functional movements to perform and can be learned by any age and any level.
So, if you haven’t added strength training to your program, do it now! If you’re new at it, then speak to a highly qualified fitness professional that can create a progressive program that will prevent injures and give you life long results.
Arlene Alpuerto, MS Ex. Science