On the appearances side of things, a toned, lean bod is a good look yet women often tell me they don’t lift because they’re worried about ‘bulking up’ or ‘looking too manly’. I’m here to assure you that will not happen. What will happen is that you’ll slim down, firm up and feel better than you have in a long time.
1. It chews through calories
Lifting at a high intensity can burn up to 500 calories an hour. Not only that, your BMR (base metabolic rate) will be up for up to 24 hours after your workout. The more muscles that you recruit during your strength training, the more calories that you will burn, so make sure you’re mixing it up and giving all your muscles some love. Also, minimise rest time between sets to maximise the benefits.
2. Muscle is functional
Got kids? Then, chances are, you’ve had to do your fair share of lifting, carrying and squatting. Ever moved house? How did it feel to move the TV or big cumbersome pieces of furniture? Do you buckle under the weight of the weekly groceries?
The activities of daily life are a lot easier when you are stronger and fitter.
3. It will help to prevent injuries
Lifting weights is an effective way to protect your bones and prevent injuries (like fractures) as you age. Women are four times more likely to suffer from osteoporosis than men due to hormonal changes, so it’s critical that women incorporate bone-building strength training into their exercise regime.
Maintaining strong muscles through weight training also benefits your balance and coordination, which makes you less likely to take a tumble.
4. Improves posture
The quality of your posture has a lot to do with the strength of your midline and the muscles that support your spine. A lot of women focus their attention on their stomach muscles to the exclusion of their upper and lower back. To achieve a neutral spine and good posture, it’s important to develop all of these areas in equal measure.
5. Stress less
While your blood pressure will increase while you’re training, in the long term your blood pressure will lower as a result of lifting weights*. If you’re carrying more lean muscle mass, everyday activities are easier, which reduces the strain on your heart. It also improves your body’s responsiveness to insulin, which mitigates the risk of developing fluid retention and, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
*If you have issues with your blood pressure, see your doctor before you take on a strength training program.
This article is an extract from news.com.au.