Who said strong was only for the boys? We are throwing that idea out and encouraging everyone to be stronger. Everyone can benefit from weight training, also known as strength training. Strength training not only makes you stronger, but it can improve cardiovascular health, mental health, balance, and weight loss. When we say strength training will make you stronger, we are referring to functional strength. Functional strength is the strength required to complete everyday tasks such as picking up children or carrying groceries. Women have often shied away from weight lifting for fear of looking “bulky” or “manly”, but we are here to tell you that those myths are simply that: myths. There are countless benefits for women who weight train and here are a few of my favorite reasons!
#1: Improved Sleep & Enhanced Mood
Regular exercise can improve sleep cycles by allowing you to enter into more restorative sleep cycles and stay in those phases longer. Weight training can be a natural remedy to common sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Exercise releases endorphins that promote serotonin and dopamine regulation and lead to better relaxation. These hormones help to regulate anxiety and depression symptoms allowing a better overall mood.
#2: Bone Density
As women age, they are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become fragile and brittle. Also, during menopause, women lose estrogen, a hormone that helps protect bones, leaving them at a higher risk for bone fractures. Certain bone fractures, such as fractures in the hips or spinal column, can be debilitating or even life-threatening. However, bone density can be increased through regular weight training. According to Wolff’s Law, mechanical loading on the bones via muscles and tendons has a direct impact on bone growth. Therefore, during weight lifting the body adapts to the stress placed on it, and the bones feel it! Strength training creates pressure gradients within the bone’s canalicular framework. These changes in pressure cause the osteoblast and osteocytes to initiate cellular events that ultimately result in bone matrix production. Not only will you feel stronger, but you will notice increased balance and joint stability- both of which decrease the risks of falls and injury!
#3: Effective Weight Loss
Weight training is one of the most effective methods of weight loss. As you weight train, your muscles start to adapt. During these muscle adaptations your body composition changes, moving from adipose (fat) tissue to more lean muscle mass. As more lean muscle mass develops, there is an increase in the basal metabolic rate (BMR) because your body now requires more energy to run vital bodily functions while at rest. With an increased BMR, your body burns more calories throughout the day even after you have completed a workout. Strength training promotes a better balance between muscle and fat which aids in weight loss.