10 Top Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights

A lot of myths surround the concept of weight training that prevent women from giving up their extensive cardiovascular workouts. For one, ladies naturally assume that lifting weights will make them look bulky. It is not uncommon to find most women in the cardio area of the gym while men occupy the space dedicated to weight training.

Several studies though have emphasized why women should include strength training in their exercise programs. Weightlifting has been found to deliver numerous health benefits, improve functionality, and enhance the feminine physique by creating a lean, toned, and shapely look.

For those who continue to hesitate from adopting a resistance training routine, here is a list of the top 10 reasons why women should lift weights:

woman lifting weight

1.Increased calorie and fat burn

Most women believe that increased cardio training burns more calories. Admittedly, an intensive aerobic activity that lasts for about 30 minutes does blast a lot of calories. However, the burning process stops as soon as a person steps out of the gym or even off the treadmill. This is the basic distinction between cardio and strength training – when a person does cardio workouts, calories and fats are burned only during the period that the exercises last. But when one lifts weights, muscle cells are built which eat away at the excess fat even at rest. The more muscle mass is formed, the more energy the body expends. This increases the metabolic rate and enhances the body’s ability to utilize the calories ingested. So, one could be sitting down at the computer, or watching television and still be burning calories – long after the exercise regimen is done!

In one study, it was found that women who do strength training are likely to lose more belly fat compared to those who only perform cardiovascular exercises. This is because aerobic activity burns both fat and muscle while weightlifting burns only fat.

In another investigation, it was shown that women who lift weights at least three times a week can lose up to 3.5 pounds of fat and gain 2 pounds of muscle.

2.Less muscle loss

Research has shown that as women age, they lose muscle. Between the ages of 30 and 70, a woman is bound to lose an average of 22 percent of her total muscle. Unfortunately, this void is replaced by fats.

Maintaining a regular strength training workout delays or lessens the muscle loss due to aging. A lot of experts advise that women should do 2 to 3 total-body strength training routines in a week for 30 minutes each session.

It is also suggested that high-intensity interval cardiovascular exercises are also done on alternate days. In one study, it was shown that combining weight and endurance training in a week significantly heightens the metabolic effects of each mode of activity on its own.

3.Enhanced strength and functionality

Weightlifting also enhances physical strength and fitness functionality. Having more muscles makes it easier for a woman to do daily chores such as lifting grocery bags, carrying kids, or picking up heavy items. It also boosts her sense of confidence and empowerment as she becomes less dependent on men to perform such tasks.

According to some studies, performing moderate strength training on a regular basis can make a woman 50 percent stronger in as short as 6 months. Research has also concluded that females can develop their strength at the same rate as most males.

Women can be assured that their perceived notions that weightlifting will make them “bulky” can be easily dispelled. When strength training is done moderately and appropriately, it only aims to build muscle that will burn fat. Muscles will give the body that “toned” appearance that women aspire for.  Further, women have between 10 to 30 times less of the hormones men have that cause muscle hypertrophy. This means it will take tremendous hard work over time for a woman to evolve into a she-hulk. Thus, there is no need to keep avoiding the weights room for this reason because moderate strength training produces more aesthetic benefits than harm.

4.Improved athletic performance

Various studies have concluded that strength training improves athletic performance. Stronger core muscles can better support the body’s weight during activities such as running or cycling. The muscle mass also helps to burn more calories during aerobic exercises. Most elite athletes like cross-country skiers and road cyclists spend hours doing strength training to improve their overall athletic ability and to decrease their risk of injuries.

A pretty senior woman smiling as she lifts freeweights. Isolated on white.

5.Reduced risk of joint injury, arthritis, and back pain

Proper strength training also builds stronger tissues, ligaments, and tendons to support and reinforce the joints. This prevents joint injury or inflammation that often occurs as a result of extensive cardio activities like running or doing the treadmill which places one at risk for osteoarthritis.

Research has also concluded that lifting weights can actually strengthen the muscles in the lower back to reduce or eliminate low-back pain. In fact, a study conducted among mildly disabled participants showed that those who lifted weights for about 12 weeks experienced less pain and increased the range of their body movements.

6.Better bone health and osteoporosis prevention

Another benefit of weightlifting is that it improves bone density and maintains bone mass. When the muscles pull on the tendons, they also pull on the bones that react by creating new bone cells. As a result, the bones become stronger. Thus, weightlifting can be a woman’s strongest defense against osteoporosis, a condition that affects millions of women who have low bone density that occurs due to aging or menopause.

Research has established that postmenopausal women are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis due to reduced estrogen levels. However, resistance or weight training can fight against bone loss and prevent osteoporosis from setting in early. In one study, it was shown that postmenopausal women can increase their spinal bone mass by as much as 9 percent after doing regular resistance training for a year. The earlier a woman practices strength training and weightlifting, the more chances she has of preventing or delaying the onset of osteoporosis.

7.Healthier heart

Weight training greatly improves cardiovascular health. Lifting weights helps to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. It also stabilizes the blood pressure and blood glucose levels. These benefits prevent the development of risk factors for heart diseases. In one investigation, it was found that people who lift weights for at least 30 minutes each week reduce their risks of cardiovascular disease by as much as 23 percent compared to those who don’t.

In another study, it was shown that although a person’s heart rate and blood pressure can increase during heavy training, the blood pressure and resting heart rate are significantly reduced the next day. Thus, in the long run, strength training is beneficial to heart health.

8.Improved insulin sensitivity

Resistance training helps to improve the way the body metabolizes sugar. It prevents the development of a condition called insulin resistance which leads to type 2 diabetes. Even those who already have prediabetes or diabetes can greatly benefit from weightlifting. Some studies have shown strength training can boost glucose utilization in the body up to 23 percent in just 4 months. These results are much better compared to those produced by mere reliance on medication to address insulin resistance.

9.Increased energy levels

As earlier discussed, weight training encourages the body to expend more energy even hours after the workout. As such, a strength training session can positively affect energy balance and sustain a person’s energy levels for a longer period compared to an aerobic activity.

Because chronic fatigue is a common complaint and health concern among women, regular resistance training may significantly benefit them and help to boost their energy levels.
In addition, strength training also improves vitality and overall well-being. Lifting weights actually releases more “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins that promote positive moods and outlooks in life.

Happy woman and kids having fun indoors

10. Better stress management

Some studies have shown that people who stay fit exhibit lower stress hormones than those who don’t. Apparently, those who have stronger muscles are better able to cope with stressful situations because during stressful episodes, their blood pressure levels either remain stabilized or quickly return to normal.

In general, exercise is an excellent way to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. But strength training has shown to have more advantages. One study found that people who incorporate at least three sessions of resistance training in a week experience better moods and fewer symptoms of depression. So, the next times those blues come around, pick up those dumbbells and beat them out!

It is never too late or too early to conquer the fear of weights and to dismiss those popular misconceptions regarding resistance training. Weightlifting can significantly benefit a woman’s overall health, improve her shapely figure, boost her energy levels, and give her a sense of confidence and fulfilment. The earlier those weights are lifted, the sooner she can see these results and become a strengthened and confident modern woman!

If you want to strengthen your core and back, flatten your belly and achieve your dream abs while keeping yourself injury free, then check out the Invincible Core program.

Fit people on fitness balls exercising with resistance bands in gym