So every other week i go to my local gym with all my girl friends. Each time we have the choice as to whether to do a spin class, some yoga or hit the gym. And this one particular week a girl said ‘does anyone fancy doing some weights with me. I want to but i find it really intimidating being the only girl there’. This raised a really good point, why is there such a stigma attached with weight lifting being for guys?. I’m lucky enough to have weights at home so i can do it in the privacy of my own home, because i too would feel intimidated doing it at my local gym. However the fact is we actually should all be lifting weights to stay fit, regardless of our gender. According to health experts we should be doing resistance or weight training at least twice a week alongside any cardio exercise we do. So what really are the benefits of doing this?
10 Reasons to lift weights:
- You will burn more calories throughout the day, not just when exercising. Lifting weights increases your muscle mass which plays a large part in determining your resting metabolic rate. That means the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’re burning just from reading this.
- Weight training can actually improve your flexibility just as well as, if not better than just doing static stretches at home. This is particularly effective when working through a full range of motion.
- Not only does weight lifting strengthen your muscles but also your bones. An example of this is a curl. When doing one of these you tug on the arm bone making the cells within that bone react to form new bone cells.
- I know many women worry that strength training will make them bulk up however this is not the case. The more of your weight that is muscle rather than fat, the smaller you will be. It also much harder for women to become body builder bulky as we produce 5-10% of the amount of testosterone than men, which limits our potential to build muscle.
- If performed correctly, strength training can actually ease joint pain. Stronger muscles will hold your joints in place more effectively.
- The way in which we sit and stand can also be linked to how strong our back, neck, shoulders, hips and abs are. Therefore the stronger we are the more likely we are to have good posture, balance and stability.
- The stronger and healthier you feel the better we are likely to feel about ourselves. Strength training also helps our ability to handle stress and to get a good nights sleep. All things leading to improved mental health.
- Our ability to perform everyday tasks such as hovering or carrying in the shopping is also improved by strength training. This is due to our increased power and endurance.
- Studies have proven that strength training also plays a part in improve are well being. It can be an effective way of decreasing arthritis pain and can also help post-menopausal women to increase their bone density and reduce the risk of bone fracture.
- Really, the most important reason to lift weights is for your heart. Usually when we think of exercise that helps our heart we think of cardiovascular. However a new study from from Appalachian State University found that resistance training is also very effective in helping keep a healthy heart. Strength training carries more blood to our limbs and also leads to a longer lasting drop in our blood pressure.
So there you have it, 10 reasons for you to start strength training. It doesn’t even have to be with weights. Using your own bodies resistance in exercises such as push ups and squats is an effective, and much cheaper way of beginning to build stronger muscles. Alternatively you can use a resistant band or ankle weights. Whatever you feel is best for you. Leave comments below. Do you feel intimated by all the guys in the weight lifting room?
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