"If I lift weights, I'll look manly and bulky."
- what seems like 99.8% of the female population these days
Ohhh, this mindset. So many females seem to believe that lifting heavy things suddenly replaces all of their estrogen with testosterone, and before they know it, they'll look like Popeye after he downs a can full of spinach. Because of this, they tend to just stick to the treadmill or spin bike, and maybe lift some 5 lb. weights "just to tone". While, yes, they are still doing their hearts well by getting cardio in, what about their bones? What about their muscle mass and strength? What about their balance and stability? ...And, is there secretly a rule that says only guys can lift weights?
Now, just a heads up that this post is about to be go a bunch of different places, but one place I am not going is into the "lifting turns women into men" topic. I'll save that one for another day, in another post. Right now, my main focus is going to be on strength training, why it is absolutely necessary to implement it into your life, and why just cardio isn't enough! This post is going out to men and women, young and old, because, as the title states, weights (and strength training) do not discriminate!
So, why?? Why does every. single. person. need to start weight lifting?
Here come my Top 5 Reasons to Incorporate Weight Training into Your Life --to hopefully make you non-lifters and/or strictly cardio-bunnies open your eyes and start lifting!
Let's start with everyday life and activities.
I'm sure it is rather obvious that the stronger you are, the easier everyday and household tasks become. From carrying groceries, to shoveling snow; carrying laundry up and down the stairs, to mowing the lawn; moving furniture, to walking a parking lot to the car. Daily life requires muscular strength, and muscular strength comes from strength training.
And while on the topic of daily life, daily life can also lead to being much more sedentary than desired. Sitting at a desk, behind a computer all day is less than ideal in terms of maintaining/increasing muscle strength. Sure, it is great that you can still maybe get your 10,000 steps in, but walking by itself is not going to stop muscle and bone loss. This is where strength training and weight lifting need to be applied!
Next up, bone density.
Inactivity and aging can lead to a decrease in bone density (meaning brittle bones down the road). This heightens chances for breaks, fractures and developing osteoporosis, and decreases the chances of independence as you get older.
People lose bone mass or density as they age, and everybody ages. So, maybe this means nothing to you right now because you're still young, but don't you want to set yourself up for a lifetime of health? Strengthening bones should be a priority no matter your age, as the more dense you make your bones, the more you can lose over time without suffering negative consequences.
And, while I said weights do not discriminate, bone mass does. Bone loss in women is greater than bone loss in men (but, guys, that doesn't mean you don't have to take it just as seriously as the girls!). Not to fear, though, because weight lifting has been proven to improve bone mineral density, meaning stronger bones and even creation of fresh, new bone.
Similarly to bone mass, strength training can increase muscle mass.
This is important because, much like bone mass, adults lose muscle as they age (medically referred to as sarcopenia). I recently read a study that estimated that after the age of 30, adults lose five to seven pounds of muscle every decade.
Again, you may think, "I'm not there yet, so this doesn't apply to me," but, one day you will be there, and one day this will apply to you. Even if you aren't there yet, set yourself up for success now. And if you are there, use strength training as a way to prevent muscle loss, and rebuild what you may have lost.
Conserve (and even increase) your muscle mass through weight lifting now, so you do not suffer the repercussions later!
Fourth benefit? Balance and stability.
Stronger muscles means stronger balance-- It's that simple.
By strengthening your muscles, you are increasing your resistance to muscle fatigue, as well as your tolerance for instability. Being more balanced and stable is VERY beneficial in reducing your risk of injury. Strength training can do this for you.
And lastly, because we ♡ our ♡s!
I'm talking heart health. While most people know by now that cardio is essential for heart health, did you know strength training also offers great benefits and is a valuable addition to your aerobic routine?
How? Because lifting weights gets your heart rate up, and keeps it up! It increases both heart rate and blood flow as the body works to deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Added bonus of that heart beating more efficiently? A higher metabolic rate, which allows you to burn more calories while in a "resting state" throughout the day.
So, to reiterate, the weights do not discriminate-- If you aren't doing so already, please start lifting them! And, ladies, are you really going to jeopardize all of the above just because of the irrational fear of "getting bulky"? No matter your age, no matter your gender, you have a lot to gain from regular strength training.
Not sure how to start, or looking for a new strength building plan? Contact me! I would love to help you help your health!
Check out this page for more information on my training and ways I can assist you: Forza Fitness and Conditioning
Happy Hump Day, everyone! Get out there and get those humps pumpin'!