8 Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights

Until recently, the weight room has been a predominately male domain --luckily things are changing. Women often worry that they will become super bulky if the start lifting but in reality, the opposite is true. Lifting weights can be the weapon you need to get the lean, toned body of your dreams! Lifting weights can do many things from increasing your fat burn to helping you feel more energized. Ladies, here are 8 reasons you should start lifting weights today:

1. You'll burn more calories.

Cardio burns more calories than strength training  during your workouts but strength training burns more overall. It takes more energy (meaning calories) for your body to maintain muscle cells than it does to maintain fat cells. So if you start lifting to build more muscle, you will increase your metabolism and turn your body into a fat burning machine!

2. You'll maintain muscle.

Between the ages of 30 and 70, women lose an average of 22% of their total muscle. And over time, the void left by the muscle is often filled with fat. One pound of fat occupies 18% more space than one pound of muscle. The best way to combat this and stay trim is through strength training. Try adding two or three strength training sessions a week to your routine. You can do this the same day you do your cardio training or you can alternate between the two. How you do this is up to you.

3. You'll build stronger bones.

Lifting weights may help protect you from osteoporosis. Lifting weights engages the muscles that pull the tendons. The tendons pull on the bones. This extra stress on the bone actually makes them stronger and more resilliant!

4. Your heart will be healthier.

Lifting weights can help protect your heart over time. “As muscles contract, blood is pushed back up to the heart,” says Irv Rubenstein, PhD, exercise physiologist and founder of S.T.E.P.S., a fitness facility in Nashville, TN. "The heart then recirculates this oxygenated blood back to the muscles, which keeps the cardiovascular system in better working order." Besides, maintaining lean muscle mass helps you do more work overall which increases this effect, according Rubenstein. [bctt tweet="8 Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights"]

5. You'll also strengthen your brain.

Muscles not only strengthen your body, they strengthen your brain. A study published by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2012, found that a combination of mentally stimulating activities, like using a computer, and exercise helped protect brain function in older adults. This combination decreased the risk of memory loss more than doing either activity on its own.

6. You'll be happier and less stressed.

It isn't just cardio that gives you a "high." Weight training also produces endorphins, the brain's "feel good" chemical. Recent studies have shown that resistance training can help elevate your mood. In fact, one Australian study found that people who did three strength training sessions a week,  chest presses, lat pull-downs, and biceps curls specifically, reported an 18% drop in depression after 10 weeks. To add to this, exercise can also reduce the stress hormone cortisol which may relieve feelings of anxiety and agitation.

7. You may reduce your risk of diabetes (or improve your quality of life if you already have it).

Lifting weights can improve the way your body processes sugar which can prevent the disease. If you already have diabetes, research has indicated that extended periods of strength training can improve blood sugar control just as well as taking medication. Actually, combining strength training and aerobic exercise may actually be more beneficial than taking the drugs. But, don't forget to talk to your doctor before just going off your meds!

8. You'll boost your balance.

Are you able to put on one sock while standing only on the other foot? Without strength training, pulling off this simple task without toppling can feel impossible. Strength training uses fast-twitch muscle fibers (cardio uses mostly slow-twitch fibers) and as we age, these fibers deteriorate. "The fast-twitch fibers assist in speed and power movements and contract quickly and with sufficient force to catch yourself when you lose your balance,” Rubenstein says. “Resistance training maintains the ability of these fibers to activate." So, are you now convinced that it is time to start lifting weights? If you'd like to work lifting into your routine, we can help! Head to the BodyRock store and check out our selection of weights, weighted vests, sandbags, and more! Source: LiveStrong

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