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Strength Training for Women

Kelsey Hergott |

Over the last ten years or so, many total misconceptions and flat out nonsense about strength and resistance training have been debunked, especially bad information that targets women. As a result, more women participate than ever. Yet, still lots of women still consider cardio a superior form of exercise or simply don’t make strength training part of their regular routine. 

 

There’s a reason why spin classes incorporate resisted intervals. Strength training is arguably the most important form of exercise for changing body composition, decreasing fat mass and increasing muscle mass (otherwise known as toning), second to the practice of good nutrition. Cardio arguably comes in at #3. 

 

Bodyweight exercises, free weights and machines fall under the strength training spectrum. PSA: You can definitely achieve great gains at home with weights and NO weight training WILL NOT make you bulky! Please promise me one thing, do not be scared to incorporate weights into your weekly routines. Especially as we get older, our bodies need to keep up with bone density and muscle mass. As women, these percentages decrease every year once we hit about 40 or so. So, grab your weights and lets get sweating!

 

Let's look at some more benefits! 

 

Better your Metabolism:

One of the most effective ways to increase our metabolism is to lift weights and maintain or increase our lean mass. In fact, a recent study found that strength training on a regular basis can increase your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) by about 5%. 

 

Physically inactive individuals can lose as much as 3-5% of their total muscle mass each decade after age 30. This means, your metabolism gets slower with age and you can gain weight more easily. Alternatively, to maintain muscles, they require and must be supplied with protein and calories.

 

On top of this, it’s actually pretty difficult for most of us to gain muscle, it requires lots of protein, regular heavy lifting and tons of calories. 

 

With more muscle mass, the body becomes more sensitive to insulin, and therefore more durable against certain diseases. Which brings us to health. 

 

Health:

Weight training strengthens muscles while also increasing bone density. This reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones, which is important to aging well or to people who practice any sort of endurance training (i.e. compete in marathons) or play sports. On this note, it also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability which, as a result, helps prevent injury during activity.

 

Osteoporosis is not something that most of us have top of mind right now. However, an estimated 1.5 million (10% or 1 in ten) of Canadians 40 years of age or older reported having been diagnosed with osteoporosis. 80% of the people who get it are women. 

 

The use of calcium and vitamin D supplementation and impact-type exercise are the top recommendations for the prevention of osteoporosis. However, among Canadians 40 years of age or older—less than half reported taking calcium and vitamin D supplements and less than half reported regular physical activity. Don’t be a statistic! Especially when the #1 preventer also helps you feel healthier, stronger and more empowered.

 

Physiological changes beyond physical appearance: 

"Cardio simply can't deliver the type of physiological change most people desire," says Kehinde Anjorin, CFSC, NCSF, strength coach and creator of The Power Method. But, lifting sure can help. 

 

After six months of regular weight training, some important invisible transformations start to occur. With the right nutritional habits, your blood sugar will start to get lower, decreasing your risk for diabetes and high blood pressure. Your body will also begin to produce more serotonin, which could help you feel better, including but not limited to less anxiety or irritability. In fact, serotonin is thought to help regulate not only mood but appetite and digestion, sleep and memory. 

 

You’ll also probably notice that your posture is better thanks to your stronger back, shoulders and chest and that you’ll have sorted out any muscle imbalances! Want to get started? Browse my on-demand video library of workouts where you can find workouts ranging to body weight, HIIT, strength + much more!

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