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Reasons Why Women Should Involve Weight Lifting In Their Fitness Plans

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If running and yoga are the cornerstones of your fitness plan and you aren’t seeing the results you want, try resistance training. Here are the reasons why weights rule the gym.

Maybe you’ve thought about lifting weights. Maybe you’ve even done some dumbbell curls or picked up a barbell. Every time you hit the iron though, you feel unsure, insecure, and a little fearful.

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the horror stories: lifting heavy weights makes women bulky, it’s dangerous, it’s bad for your joints, and once you have muscle, you can’t stop lifting or it will all turn to fat. It’s all BS, and it feeds into stereotypes that are keeping too many women from experiencing the profound benefits of resistance training.

It’s time to put that fear and uncertainty aside. The fact is lifting weights does none of those awful things. What it does is help you to live in a healthier, stronger body.

When you sit down to list your fitness objectives, you may be surprised to learn that that strength training will not only help you reach them, but may reach them faster than performing cardio exercise alone.

Yoga and the treadmill can have their place, but they’re not enough. Here are eight reasons you should prioritize strength training in your fitness regimen!

You’ll Lose 40 Percent More Fat
If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading: When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups, no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training, they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.
Other research on dieters who don’t lift shows that, on average, 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat, while 25 percent is from muscle. Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn’t improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost. However, if you weight train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.

Your Clothes Will Fit Better
Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50, you’ll likely lose 10 percent of your body’s total muscle. Worse yet, it’s likely to be replaced by fat over time. And that increases your waist size, because one pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space than one pound of muscle.

You’ll Burn More Calories
Lifting increases the number of calories you burn while your butt is parked on the couch. That’s because after each strength workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibers. In fact, research showed that when people did a total-body workout with just three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward. They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared with those who didn’t lift.
Lifting gives you a better burn during exercise too: Doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) can expend 159 to 231 calories. That’s about what you’d burn if you ran at a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.

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Your Diet Will Improve
Exercise helps your brain stick to a diet plan. University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults and found that those who didn’t follow a three-hours-a-week training regimen ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day. The reverse was also true, sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. Both diet and exercise likely remind you to stay on track, aiding your weight-loss goals.

You’ll Handle Stress Better
Break a sweat in the weight room and you’ll stay cool under pressure. The fittest people exhibit lower levels of stress hormones than those who are the least fit. Another study has found that after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle.

You’ll Be Happier
Yoga isn’t the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise. Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood.

You’ll Build Stronger Bones
As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin, a marker of bone growth, by 19 percent.

You’ll Get Into Shape Faster
The term cardio shouldn’t describe only aerobic exercise: Circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you run at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise, so you save time without sacrificing results.

Your Heart Will Be Healthier
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total-body weight workouts a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40 percent and the chance of a heart attack by 15 percent.

You’ll Be Way More Productive
Lifting could result in a raise (or at least a pat on the back from your boss). Researchers found that workers were 15 percent more productive on days they exercised compared with days they didn’t. So on days you work out, you can (theoretically) finish in eight hours what would normally take nine hours and 12 minutes. Or you’d still work for nine hours but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job, another perk reported on days workers exercised.

You’ll Live Longer
Total-body strength is linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Similarly, scientists have found that being strong during middle age is associated with “exceptional survival,” defined as living to the age of 85 without developing a major disease.

You’ll Be Even Smarter
Muscles strengthen your body and mind: Researchers found that six months of resistance training enhanced lifters’ cognitive function. In fact, the sweat sessions resulted in better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span.
For those of you ladies afraid to look like a bodybuilder, understand that you just don’t have the testosterone that men do, and as such it’s near impossible to bulk up the way a man does without steroids. Besides, men themselves struggle to put on muscle in the gym, its not as easy as that. Get lifting!

 

 

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