The benefits of lifting weights for women
Lifting weights has some surprising perks that you can’t get from cardio alone. All of us want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do: from fitting into jeans to moving heavy furniture, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful career. Doing 2- 3 strength training sessions a week can help you burn more fat, sculpt lean muscles, feel more energised, and so much more.
1. Burn more calories
Cardio burns more calories than strength training during the session, but lifting weights burns more overall. It takes more energy – calories – for your body to maintain muscle cells than it does fat cells. So by lifting weights you add more muscle mass and this will turn your body into a more efficient fat-burning machine.
2. Maintain muscle
Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 70, women lose an average of 22% of their total muscle. This muscle void is often filled with fat. Adding 2 to 3 total-body strength workouts per week will help you maintain muscle for life.
3. Build stronger bones
Muscle-strengthening exercises play an important role in keeping our bones strong. Weight training helps to build muscle, placing more load on your bones, and in turn, strengthening them. This is especially vital for women who have gone through menopause. The female sex hormone estrogen protects and maintains bone strength, so after menopause when estrogen levels drop, so too does a woman’s bone density. On average, women lose up to 10% of bone mass in the first five years after menopause, which puts them at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
4. Manage diabetes or reduce your risk
Increases in your lean muscle mass and metabolism through muscle-strengthening activities can have important benefits for people with type 2 diabetes or people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A higher metabolism, due to increased lean muscle mass, helps your body keep blood glucose levels in check, while a lower fat-to-muscle ratio reduces the amount of insulin you need in your body.
5. You will be happier and less stressed
Weight training has the power to induce pleasure by releasing endorphins. This is the “feel-good” chemical in your brain. Research shows that resistance training can help to beat depression. A study found that people who did 3 strength workouts a week reported an 18% drop in depression after 10 weeks. On top of this exercise reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, this is why lifting can make you feel less anxiety and agitation.