4 Essential Reasons Why Women Should Do Weights!

Many women hear weight training, and think big muscly men, protein shakes and a lot of ego…..And, let’s face it, that often is the case! However, I’m so pleased to see that more and more, there are women training amongst those men who are totally bossing it! Even if you don’t fancy training in a gym, there is so much strength training you can do at home. You may be wondering why should you bother? Well I’ve got 4 essential reasons below why women should do weights. In fact, I would happily argue it is more important for women to be doing weights than men! Have a read and see what you think.

1. Weight training improves bone density

One of the most important reasons why women should do weights is that strength training helps to improve bone density. In fact, the Royal Osteoporosis society recommends resistance or weight training 2-3 times a week. This is because the increased mechanical load of these exercises puts more stress on the skeleton, which helps to increase osteoblast activity and improve bone density. This is particularly important for women because a decrease in oestrogen during the menopause leads to more bone loss. Weight training can help counteract these changes and maintain bone density, thereby reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis. Many of my patients in clinic are pre or post menopausal, and I always like to discuss the benefits that weight training during the menopause can have. In fact, I feel it’s such an important issue that I’ve dedicated a whole page to training during the menopause here.

2. Using weights helps prevent injuries

Weight training increases the strength within your ligaments, muscles and tendons. This helps to improve your joint stability, which can help to prevent injury. It is a depressing statistic but, after the age of 30, a women’s muscle strength decreases at a rate of between 3-8% per decade (1). This decline is even more noticeable in women as they go through the menopause due to the changing hormones. I’m convinced this is one of the reasons why, as a Chiropractor, a large number of my patients are women in their 40s and 50s. It’s also why I will encourage my patients to start doing simple strength exercises as part of their recovery plan. You can read over some of what I give them in my chronic low back pain post.

Full length portrait of a strong muscular adult sportswoman lifting heavy barbell isolated over gray background
Image by drobotdean on Freepik

3. Strength training improves fitness

People are sometimes concerned that if they spend their exercise time lifting weights, they won’t be able to stay aerobically fit too. I have good news for you on that front! Strength training has been shown not only to improve strength, but also to improve cardiovascular fitness (2). This means it can help you find it easier to walk up stairs, run for the bus or chase after your children…all without having to run on a treadmill! Furthermore, there are even indications that strength training offers better protection from heart disease than some aerobic exercise, like walking (3).

4. Uses weights increases your metabolic rate

Finally, the 4th cherry on the cake, is that weight training builds muscle mass, which increases your baseline metabolic rate. This mean that you burn more calories, even at rest. I often find that women struggle to lose weight after the menopause, despite regular aerobic exercise. This can be incredibly frustrating. Weight training can therefore be a great addition to your exercise programme, as it will increase muscle tone and potentially help with weight loss.

So how do I start weight training?

Weight training can take on many different forms. It can be lifting heavy weights in the gym, it can be a few simple exercises at home. The best place to start is on our beginners page, where we have lots of information to get you started.

References

(1) Volpi E, Nazemi R, Fujita S. Muscle tissue changes with aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004 Jul;7(4):405-10. doi: 10.1097/01.mco.0000134362.76653.b2. PMID: 15192443; PMCID: PMC2804956. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/

(2) Lovell DI, Cuneo R, Gass GC. Strength training improves submaximum cardiovascular performance in older men. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2009;32(3):117-24. doi: 10.1519/00139143-200932030-00007. PMID: 20128336.

(3) https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190709/Weightlifting-is-better-for-the-heart-than-cardio.aspx

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