Reluctant to try resistance training? Many women think it will make them look too muscular or that their routines are tough enough without it. But strength-building exercises are a smart addition to a healthy fitness plan, and they can be easily incorporated into anyone’s weekly workout. In fact, two to three 20-minute sessions a week are really all you need to start seeing benefits!
Beyond toning and sculpting muscles, here are some of the most important reasons women should consider resistance training.
Truth: lifting weights is not going to make you look like a man. Due to the high levels of estrogen in women’s bodies, it’s difficult for women to become overly muscular. What will happen is you’ll gain strength, improve muscle tone and increase endurance with regular resistance training. Results will be firm, feminine-looking muscle, not big guns poking through your shirt sleeves. Some studies show that moderate weight training can increase a woman’s strength by as much as 50 percent!
As you build lean muscle, you’ll also improve your resting metabolism. Why does it matter? Your body will start burning calories more efficiently, making weight loss or healthy weight maintenance easier. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories daily. It may not seem like much, but it really adds up! To enhance your efforts, try a supplement system such as FitMiss Burn™, which addresses appetite, metabolism and more.
It’s well known that muscle mass diminishes with age. But it doesn’t have to! Fight back with resistance training. If you don’t do anything to maintain muscle, the percentage of fat on your body will increase as you get older, and you’ll become weaker and more susceptible to injuries and other problems. In addition to two to three 20- to 30-minute resistance training sessions a week, drink a protein shake daily to give your muscles the nutrients they need.
Better your bones
After menopause, women can lose one to two percent of their bone mass every year. Strength training is one way to help reduce risk of fractures and other problems associated with this loss. Plus, it can actually help increase bone density when performed regularly by women between age 50 and 70. For best bone care, be sure you’re getting the recommended daily amount of calcium, taking a calcium supplement if needed.
Besides stronger muscles, resistance training helps build stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability, both of which are important for preventing injury. When performed properly, going through the full range of motion, strength exercises also improve flexibility and balance—also key to keeping you coordinated and safe.
Don’t have access to a gym? No problem! Try resistance training right at home using resistance tubes, or even your own body weight!
IFBB figure professional Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.