What do you do when you want to shed a few pounds or feel a little more comfortable in your skinny jeans? If you’re like a lot of women, your go-to workout is some form of cardio — jogging, aerobics, Zumba, etc.
While there’s nothing wrong with these workouts, they may not be the best option for helping you get in shape.
One of the best things women can do, whether they want to lose weight or look and feel healthier, is lift weights.
Read on to learn about nine great benefits of strength training for women.
1. Burn More Fat
Lifting weights on a regular basis can help you to burn more fat than you would only doing cardio. This is because strength training helps you build muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be.
Cardio, on the other hand, can cause you to lose muscle mass. So, while you may lose more weight doing cardio, a portion of that weight will be muscle, which isn’t good for your metabolism or overall health.
2. Improve Your Body Composition
Many women concern themselves with strength training because they’re afraid that it will make them look big or “bulky.”
In reality, though, the majority of women do not have enough of the hormones they need to become bulky. Instead, strength training will help change your body composition and make you look leaner and more toned.
Since it can cause you to lose muscle mass, spending hours on the treadmill or elliptical could cause you to become “skinny fat.” This means that you’ll have a low body weight but a high body fat percentage.
3. Feel More Confident
When you strength train regularly, you’ll have an easier time performing everyday tasks like lifting groceries and picking up your kids. Being strong is empowering, and the knowledge that you can do hard things will likely seep into other parts of your life.
If you’re looking for a confidence boost, you should definitely consider taking up strength training.
4. Build Stronger Bones
There are definitely plenty of benefits of strength training that have nothing to do with aesthetics.
For example, strength training also helps increase your bone density. This is especially true if you’re lifting heavy weights and doing weight-bearing exercises like squats and lunges.
Increasing bone density is essential for women, who face an increased risk of osteoporosis (loss of bone density). The risk grows as they age and go through menopause.
5. Improved Mood
Exercise of any kind can boost your mood thanks to the release of endorphins, which are chemicals associated with a positive mood.
Resistance training seems to be especially beneficial for improving mood and fighting anxiety and depression. Considering the fact that women are more prone to these issues than men, this is especially noteworthy.
It’s not clear exactly why weightlifting is so good for anxiety and depression. It might be due to the confidence boost that many women experience when they lift weights.
6. Increased Athleticism
If you participate in any kind of sport, strength training can help improve your performance in that sport. It doesn’t matter what you do, being stronger and more mobile will be beneficial and help you take your athleticism to a new level.
7. Reduced Injury Risk
Weightlifting is great for reducing your injury risk, whether you play sports, have a physical job, or are accident-prone.
Weightlifting reduces injuries because it strengthens ligaments and tendons and helps stabilize the joints. This makes you more resilient and better able to withstand the effects of falls and other injuries.
8. Improve Your Heart Health
Many people assume that cardiovascular exercise is the best form of exercise for improving heart health. While cardio is good for that, strength training also helps reduce your risk of experiencing heart disease.
In fact, people who lift weights for at least 30 minutes per week have a 23 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than people who don’t lift weights at all.
9. Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Weightlifting is also great for managing blood sugar levels. It also reduces your risk of developing conditions like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Weight training helps build muscle mass. The more lean muscle you have, the more efficiently your body can remove glucose from the blood and balance your blood sugar levels.
Getting Started with Strength Training for Women
As you can see, there are lots of reasons for women to start strength training. But, there’s no denying that walking into a gym — especially to the weights section — can be intimidating.
If you’re interested in strength training but aren’t sure how to begin, keep these tips in mind:
- Work with a trainer to learn proper form and get additional support
- Start with basic movements like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses
- Find ways to modify difficult exercises (do dumbbell goblet squats instead of barbell squats, for example)
- Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t
- Be consistent — the more you go to the gym and lift, the sooner you’ll start feeling comfortable there
- Pay attention to your strength progression — don’t focus on the scale
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from gym staff or other lifters (just don’t interrupt them mid-set!)
- Find a beginner strength program online if you need guidelines to follow and can’t afford to work with a trainer
Finally, don’t procrastinate getting started. We all know that the longer you put off something that intimidates you, the less likely you are to actually do it.
Choose a start date and stick to it, no matter what. If you find yourself losing motivation, take a step back and think of all the health benefits that come with strength training.
Looking for More Advice?
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits of strength training for women.
In addition to lifting weights, there are many other things you can do to become a stronger, healthier version of yourself.
If you’re interested in what else you can do to impact your health, check out this article on 10 essential health tips for women!