There are still so many misconceptions about women and weight training. Many women are still weary of weight training in fear of bulking up like a man, but this cannot be further from the truth. It is genetically impossible for women to build bulky muscle mass like that of men for the simple fact that we do not have the same hormonal composition. Women do not possess enough natural testosterone to build big bulging muscles, this is only possible by supplementing with steroids (synthetic testosterone), and only then does it start to look unnatural. Testosterone, however, is only one factor, genetics plays a larger role. Our DNA predetermines what type of muscle fibers we have and where on the body they are distributed, how we respond to exercise, and our body type.
As women, weight training is one of the best things we can do for our bodies, especially as we age. Here are some reasons why women must consider weight training:
- Reverse the loss of muscle mass. After the age of 35, we typically lose 5% of our muscle mass every 10 years if we do nothing. With strength training, we can reverse the loss of muscle mass by building toned, lean muscles.
- Stimulate fat loss. As we age we our metabolism starts to slow down causing an increase in body fat, this typically starts around the age of 30. How much body fat we gain depends greatly on our level of activity and lifestyle. Weight training will increase lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass burns ten times more calories than fat mass and it continues to torch calories all day long.
- Prevent osteoporosis. Regular weight training can significantly decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis and osteopenia by increasing bone density. In order for bone to continue to renew itself, it requires regular overloading, otherwise, bone starts to lose minerals and becomes brittle and fragile. This is one of the main reasons why older adults are so susceptible to bone fractures. Weight training can provide the bones with necessary overload for the generation of new bone tissue.
- Prevent many chronic diseases. Regular weight training can decrease your chances of developing heart disease by lowering your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing your HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Diabetes can be prevented or controlled with weight training by improving your body’s utilization of sugar. The prevention and management of arthritis (osteoarthritis) is better possible by including weight training in your regular routine. Weight training not only strengthens the muscles, but it also strengthens the connective tissues (tendons, ligaments) that surround and support the joints. By increasing the integrity of your joints, you will also be preventing injury.
- Become physically stronger. Stronger muscles can greatly increase your quality of life and prevent injuries. Even strength training 2-3 times a week can increase your overall strength by 30-50%. This will make the activities of daily life requiring bending, lifting, climbing a lot easier and safer by reducing the risk of injury.
- Stay positive and focused. Exercise in general, has a mood altering effect. The release of “feel good hormones” called endorphins, can help fight off depression and increase mental focus and clarity.
- Look younger longer. The anti-aging effects of weight training has been documented in numerous research studies. The combination of all the other positive effects of weight training gives way to a more youthful body and mind. People that are physically fit, healthy, happy, and active always seem younger.