Women and strength training have had a pretty rocky relationship for quite some time. There are a lot of myths surrounding what is appropriate for women to engage in, and what not to engage in. My hope here is to provide some insight as to what the evidence says are the biggest benefits that women can expect to receive from strength training.
- Protecting and Improving Metabolic Functioning:
Many women have engaged in at least one diet plan throughout their lives, and many report under-consuming in an attempt to stay lean. This can lead to some serious metabolic consequences over the long term. This is why a many women experience larger declines in metabolic rate and muscle loss as they age when compared to men. Strength training can help offset years of decline and help boost metabolic rate back to normal levels while staying lean, or even becoming leaner.
- Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence:
It’s very unfortunate, but modern society has put a large burden on women to look and feel a certain way. Not feeling that they live up to the ideal has been shown to decrease self-esteem and confidence. Strength training can help tone up a women’s body, providing desired curvature and stature without adding bulk. This can allow women to not only feel as though they look better, but also that they are confident in their ability to overcome tasks and defy common gender roles. It should be noting that the reality is, if you aren’t eating to bulk up, there is nothing inherent with strength training that will bulk you up.
- Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis and Age Related Physical Decline:
Osteoporosis is one of the leading risk factors to a woman’s health as she ages. While peak bone density it determined before the age of 30, strength training can help prevent done density decline. By exposing your body to compressive loads from strength training movements, it forces the bones to continue to create new bone tissue as older tissue decay. In addition, early strength training can be vital to increasing peak bone density and joint integrity for later in life.
- Increased Ability to Handle Childbirth:
Strength training can increase systemic strength levels of your immune, muscular and skeletal system – all three of which are greatly challenged by pregnancy and childbirth. The more these systems can be improved by strength training the easier you will be able to handle the day to day stresses ahead of you. In addition, strength training after childbirth can help you repair the damaged tissue you have accrued, as well as shed off any unwanted weight gain that may have occurred.
- Decreased General Pain of Everyday Living:
A lot of women note that they live with general aches and pains that can become debilitating over the years. Commonly reported sites include the low back, hips and knees. Often times these aches and pains are due to muscular imbalances and/or poor posture. Proper strength training can help address these issues, fix them and prevent them from creeping back into your life.
Strength training has a multitude of benefits for women and their health. Although there are a lot of myths out there that disagree with this, the evidence says otherwise. I hope that this list has shed some light on the situation and motivated anyone on the fence to begin strength training. If you don’t believe me I implore you to find a female friend who strength trains and ask them for a personal account.