Women, should you be weight training?

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Many women believe that cardiovascular exercise is the only way to burn excess calories and lose weight. They may sign-up for aerobics classes five times per week or jog several kilometres per day on a treadmill. Although these activities may burn a large amount of calories and help you to lose weight, you may realize that your body is still flabby instead of tight and toned. Cardiovascular exercise has a long list of benefits, and is important for overall health. But, it is only half of the weight loss equation.

For a lean body and optimal fitness, you must weight train. Studies have shown that women will not become bulky when participating in a weightlifting program. Instead, they gain lean muscle mass, burn large amounts of fat and have an overall smaller physique.

There are several well-known benefits for women who weight train. Just a few are:

Burn more fat

A group of researchers from Tufts University discovered that when overweight women participated in a strength training program twice a week utilizing heavy weights, they lost an average of 6.6 Kg of pure body fat, yet gained 680 g of lean muscle mass. The control group, which was comprised of women on calorie-restricted diets but did not lift weights, lost only 4 Kg of body fat and gained no muscle mass. Lifting weights also boosts the metabolism for several hours after the exercise has stopped. This means that not only will you burn calories during exercise, but afterwards as well.

Change your body shape
Many women may think that they are doomed to be overweight for the rest of their lives due to genes. Whereas genes play a large role in your overall body composition, weight training can help avoid weight gain and shrink troublesome spots that may not respond to any other form of exercise. By reducing your body percentage by only 3%, you can lose a total of 3 inches from your thighs and hips.

Boost your metabolism
After the age of 40, women begin to lose muscle mass, which slows the metabolism. Dieting without weight training can increase the amount of muscle lost by 25%. Lifting weights while dieting can preserve muscle tissue and improve the fat burning capabilities of the metabolism.

Gain confidence
Lifting weights can make everyday tasks such as lifting grocery bags, carrying children, and performing basic everyday housecleaning duties easier due to increased strength. According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, participating in a weight training routine can increase your strength by 50% over a period of six months. Not only can a strength training program improve your strength and overall physical appearance, it can also help to build emotional strength, leading to higher self-esteem and increased confidence.

Build stronger bones
Many studies have proven that women must perform weight-bearing exercises to help maintain bone mass in order to prevent osteoporosis. Muscles become larger and stronger with continued use and so do bones, when they are made to bear weight. Increased muscle mass and stronger bones can lead to better balance and flexibility, which is important for preventing falls and injuries for women as they age.

Alleviate depression
It is a well-known fact that low impact exercises can help alleviate depression. New studies have shown that lifting weights has the very same effect. Resistance training helps to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. Many women have found that participating in a strength training routine in conjunction with psychological treatment greatly increases their feelings of self-worth, while lessening their depression symptoms.

Reduce arthritis and injuries
Lifting weights helps to build stronger tendons, ligaments, and improves joint stability. By utilizing proper form when training, you can also decrease the risk of injuries later on in life. A group of researchers from the University of Wales discovered that when mildly disabled individuals lifted weights for a period of 12 weeks, they increased the intensity and frequency at which they could work with much less pain and a greater range of movement.

As you can see, lifting weights does more for the body than just burning calories. By participating in a solid strength training routine, you can not only achieve the body that you want, but you also will enjoy good health for many years to come.


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