Why Women Should Lift Weights, Too
Women are constantly told that they’re not supposed to lift weights — instead, cardio workouts are encouraged. We’re told that if we lift weights, we’ll bulk up and look like the Terminator.
Well, guess what ladies? That’s all a bunch of garbage.
Weightlifting is not a male-exclusive activity. In fact, women receive just as many benefits from weightlifting as men do. The idea that women will have huge arm and leg muscles from weight lifting is a bit of a fallacy. While the professional female weightlifters are certainly bulkier than the norm, these women take specific supplements and perform intense routines that give them the bodies they have.
Men and women’s bodies develop differently when they exercise. Because of the large amounts of testosterone in their bodies, men’s muscles tend to get larger and they are generally stronger. Because of hormones — specifically, estrogen — it’s much harder for women to bulk up.
However, weightlifting can lead to your body being stronger and more toned. Cardio workouts aren’t the only way to burn fat — weight lifting can also help cut down on your percentage of body fat and create more definition with your body. Your arms and legs will be tighter and you can reduce any flab you might have on your upper arms, stomach or thighs.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t continue a cardio workout if you enjoy it. However, you can see many of the same results with weightlifting that you would with cardio. Also, weightlifting workouts often take less time than cardio workouts. Some of the key benefits for weightlifting include:
A healthy heart
A typical strength workout can help keep your heart healthy for the long run. Your blood flow will increase while your blood pressure can decrease. This can stay effective for up to a full day after your exercise.
Increased bone strength
As you get older, your bones and muscles grow weaker. Weightlifting helps strengthen both as your body reacts to the additional stress — namely, the weights.
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Weightlifting can be just as therapeutic as yoga. Once you get in the groove, you can stay relaxed and focused on the task ahead. Plus, your stress levels will be more controlled even when you’re not exercising.
Another side effect of getting older is a slower metabolism. Weightlifting exercises will help rev up your metabolism and keep it working long after you’re done exercising.
More calories burned: Strength-building workouts can burn plenty of calories. Squat jumps and kettlebell workouts both burn tons of calories and tone your muscles.
As you lift weights, your balance gets better. This is because stabilizer muscles — for example, the pecs and hamstrings, as well as many smaller muscles — help keep you on your feet. This can also help improve your posture.
Weightlifting is not a male-inclusive activity. Women can — and have — seen plenty of benefits to strength-training. The best part is you don’t even necessarily need to purchase weights to see the benefits. For example, you can use your own body weight with push-ups or pull-ups. That’s a good place to start if you feel you’re not ready to try the gym equipment.
Don’t listen to the naysayers who tell you that you shouldn’t lift weights because you’ll bulk up. Besides the fact that women generally can’t bulk up in the same way as men, you’ll be missing out on the many positives effects if you decide not to do strength training. Besides cutting down on fat and increasing your metabolism, you can keep your heart healthy and keep your stress levels under control.
You should be able to exercise however you want. If you want to lift weights, go for it — your body will thank you.
Image by AlexVan
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