Why should women exercise? So many reasons, but the top reason women should exercise and specifically strength train is to FEEL good! So many women come to me and tell me how they want to ‘look’ stronger. They want to looked toned and fit but not too bulky. They want muscles but not too big. I hear so many physical appearance goals, but what about the inside!? Shouldn’t you want to BE strong and not just LOOK strong? The physical changes you see from strength training are a byproduct of hard work! The real benefits of strength training are increased bone density and metabolism, improved blood pressure and cholesterol, decreased pain and risk of injury and SO MUCH MORE! Unfortunately this is NOT the information being shared most of the time. One of my goals as a trainer is to educate my clients, especially women, about the importance and benefits of strength training.
The Internet and Exercise
I often shake my head at the articles targeting women that say things like “5 Best Booty Exercises” or “Follow _____ Celebrity’s workout for 6 pack abs” These articles target women who feel they need to look a certain way to fit into society. At the same time these same articles discount the really hard work it takes to get the results those women worked for. The internet is a blessing and a curse for this reason. The internet holds tons of fantastic articles and some not so great ones. It takes practice sifting through these articles to see the difference. My general rule of thumb – if it seems to good to be true, it probably is when it comes to exercise. Last year, I wrote a blog about the Top Women and Strength Training Myths debunked, so check that out if you’re interested! Exercise is not a quick fix and it takes a little time and a commitment, but can make a big impact!
What do Women Need to Know about Strength Training?
- Bone Density. The young women I train aren’t thinking about bone density, but they should be! Strength training promotes bone growth by stressing the bones in a healthy way. Women peak around age 30 physically. This means we can reach our peak bone density around this time. From then until menopause we want to maximize our genetic potential and hold on to that bone density. Once menopause begins, our bodies have a MUCH more difficult time rebuilding bone density. This is a result of reduced estrogen which is a key hormone needed for the bone building process. Every women I train who is in menopause and has been diagnosed with low bone density has said they wished someone would have educated them on the topic sooner!!
- Reduce Pain and Injury Risk. Strength training safely should reduce pain and prevent injuries. Again, the internet has so many bad examples of how to strength train. A quality strength program should include exercises for each muscle or muscle group. Only focusing on certain body parts is selling yourself short of the results you could get. The strength program should move your body through it’s natural and full range of motion. Exercises should burn but not cause sharp or stabbing pain. This is a sign of something wrong and you should consult a professional. Strengthening muscles will strengthen your joints and also promote blood flow for healing to injured areas!
- Improve Mood and Confidence. If you’ve ever done a really hard workout you’ve felt endorphins! Endorphins are awesome and are your brains natural reward system. Endorphins can instantly improve your mood when you start getting your heartrate up! Exercise over longer periods of time can also help manage depression symptoms in individuals! As you continue to get stronger and prove you can work hard over time your confidence will improve! I’ve seen it in so many clients and heard stories about them doing activities they wouldn’t even consider before, and now they do them without even thinking!
- Improve Metabolism. Strength training improves metabolism naturally by adding muscle. Carrying extra muscle requires extra calories so you naturally burn more calories in a day. A quality strength program combined with good nutrition will raise your metabolism and improve body composition. A healthy body composition leads to so many health benefits including decreased blood pressure and cholesterol, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, decreased risk of heart disease and so much more.
As you can see, there are so many reasons to get started strength training! If you are a woman and want to learn more, schedule a FREE introductory session!
Written By: Morgan Maule