While many women do weight training these days, there are still those who are reluctant to do it. One common reason is they are afraid of becoming bulky.
This fear is of course unwarranted because women have far less testosterone than men do. Testosterone is the androgenic hormone behind muscle mass growth.
According to the Mayo Clinic Laboratories, testosterone levels in men aged 19 years and above range from 240 to 950 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), while testosterone levels in women of the same age range from 8 to 60 ng/dL.
So, if you are a woman, there is no reason why you should shy away from weight training. In fact, weight training has many benefits for women. Below we list some benefits of weight training for women:
1. Weight Training Makes You Burn More Fat
Your muscle plays a role in determining your Basal Metabolic Rate, which refers to the levels of calories your body requires to function while resting.
Lifting weight enables you to build muscle. Increased muscles increase your metabolic rate, which in turn burns more calories. Thus, you can enjoy the calorie-burning effects of weight lifting even when you are not exercising.
Research carried out by Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, discovered that women who did weight training 2-3 times per week for 2 months would gain almost 2 pounds of muscle and lost 3.5 pounds of fat.
2. Weight Training Offers Cardiovascular Benefits
Weight training could offer significant cardiovascular benefits. It could improve the size, strength, and performance of your heart. It’s highly beneficial to your heart.
A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise by Duck-Chul Lee and his colleagues from Iowa State University documented that weight training for less than one hour a week could lower your risk of getting a heart attack and stroke by 40 to 70 percent.
Two of his other studies published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings also found that resistance training for less than an hour a week may reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome by 29 percent and lower your risk of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) by 32 percent.
Another research conducted by Dr. Scott Collier from the Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University, shows that weight training could decrease a person’s blood pressure by as much as 20 percent.
He also discovered that the beneficial effects of weight training persisted around 30 minutes after the exercise had been completed and as long as 24 hours in individuals who exercised for 30-45 minutes 3 times a week.
3. Weight Training Improves Your Appearance
Lean and toned women are usually more attractive than just skinny women, and weight lifting gives you lean and defined muscles. Furthermore, strength training enables you to get the body shape you want because you can train specific parts of your body.
Weight training can also improve your overall posture. It strengthens muscles, bones, and other tissues in your low back; improves shoulder muscles; and increases core strength, resulting in an improved overall posture.
4. Weight Training Increases Your Longevity
Weight training builds muscle and having more muscle can increase longevity. So weight training can increase your longevity.
A UCLA research published in 2014 suggests that the more muscle mass you have, the lower your risk of death. The researchers analyzed data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III between 1988 and 1994. They focused on a group of 3,659 individuals that included men who were 55 or older and women who were 65 or older at the time of the survey.
The researchers then determined how many of those individuals had died from natural causes based on a follow-up survey done in 2004. They measured the muscle mass index—the amount of muscle relative to height—of the study subjects using bioelectrical impedance. They found that the more muscle mass those individuals have, the less likely they are to die prematurely.
5. Weight Training Increases Your Bone Density
Weight training could increase bone density, thus reducing the risk of fracture. Good bones could also improve your balance and reduce the risk of falling. This is especially important for women in the post-menopausal stage who are prone to osteoporosis.
In a review article published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 1999, Jennifer E. Layne and Miriam E. Nelson from Tufts University said that almost two dozen studies over the past 10 years have demonstrated a positive and direct relationship between resistance training and bone density.
Weight lifting gives your bones the mechanical stimuli needed to improve themselves. When you lift weights, you put pressure on your bones, stimulating your bone-forming cells to create new bone. This in turn will increase your bones’ strength and density.
6. Weight Training Improves Mental Health
Weight training can help you reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It enables your body to release mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as endorphin and dopamine, which boost your mood, increase your interest in activities, and raise your sense of accomplishment and confidence.
Besides that, weight training can also improve memory and memory-related tasks. It could also improve the ability of your brain’s control center to manage all the tasks in your life.
In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2018, Brett Gordon et al. conducted a meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials to find out the association of resistance training with depressive symptoms. The study concluded that resistance training significantly reduced depressive symptoms in adults.
Weight training improves your health and body in various ways. It enables you to burn excess body fat, improve cardiovascular health, increase bone density, and enhance your physical appearance. Moreover, it is connected to longevity and could save you from mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety
Thus, you can see how useful weight training is for women. And these benefits actually apply to men too. With the many benefits of weight training for women, it’s insane if you don’t do weight training. If you have not started weight training, it is never too late to start.
So, incorporate weight training into your routine. Lift that iron to burn more fat and sculpt your body. Weight training can help you get much more potent and overcome some of the difficult things you face in life.