Updated: Mar 26, 2022
Cardio counts but muscle matters too. When I first meet my clients, I ask about their physical activity. Almost everyone talks about their cardio time. They tell me how many hours per week they've logged on an elliptical or treadmill but I rarely hear about any strength training. There are so many benefits to strength training.
LISTEN UP LADIES
Weight training expert and researcher Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, has conducted numerous weight training studies involving thousands of women. Westcott's research showed that the average woman who strength-trains two to three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.75 pounds of lean weight or muscle and loses 3.5 pounds of fat.
In another study, The Journal of American Dietetic Association conducted research on untrained women who started strength training twice a week for 12 weeks. The study showed increased muscular strength and decreased body fat percentage in the participants. The women accomplished this workout by restricting food intake. Ladies, muscle is metabolically active, which means it burns calories for you. For every pound of lean muscle you create, you will burn 35-50 more calories per day - even while just sitting on the couch!
Another bonus is women who strength train commonly reported feeling more confident and capable. A Harvard Study showed that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did.
My clients' biggest concern with pumping iron is bulking up but there's no need to fear looking like a female version of The Incredible Hulk. Women have 10 to 30 times fewer muscle-building hormones than men do.
Sad to say but we lose up to 0.5 percent bone mass per year after the age of 50. That amount can double in women during menopause. This can lead to osteoporosis. However, research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months.
EASIER EVERYDAY EFFORTS
Stronger muscles make everyday efforts easier for all ages. However, older Americans who strength train have greater mobility and less pain. The American College of Sports Medicine states that adults, 50 years and older, who engage in strength training achieve a 43 percent reduction in pain with an increase in #strength performances to boot. Stronger muscles are also more resilient to injury prevention and can diminish the incidence and severity of low back pain. Muscles that are strong and reinforced will help protect your bones and joints.
FINE TUNE YOUR SPORT
When my clients tell me they want to run their first 5k, they are surprised I recommend strength or resistance training. Yes, running is important but when your core and #muscles are strong, they'll give you a competitive edge. Look at the track stars today. They have muscular arms and legs and run fast! If you want to pack more power into your tennis game, golf game, or run faster, hit the weight room. Pumping iron improves any sport of your choice.
As people age, they tend to be less active. In reality, this is when strength training can really benefit the aging body. It helps prevent bone loss (reducing the risk of fractures) and reduces the risk of dozens of diseases associated with aging.
If your muscle strength is good, it can help improve your balance and coordination. Carrying grocery bags, household chores, and playing with the grandkids is much easier if you remain physically active as you age.