So as you can tell by now, I am a huge fan of weight lifting! It’s such an empowering and motivating activity for us ladies because we are expected so often by society to just be these delicate little flowers and to stick to things more suitable for women…whatever that means?!?!
I got to thinking about this one day while waiting for my son in the pick-up line at his school. Many days I can hear my fellow moms talking with one another about their exercise routines at the gym earlier in the day and more often times than not it usually entails endless amounts of aerobic exercise on various cardio machines.
In my opinion, women find themselves just droning away for endless hours on cardio equipment because:
- That’s what they are familiar with so that’s what they just stick to;
- They are wrongfully convinced by outside influences that women shouldn’t have a muscular physique;
- The weight room intimidates them because they don’t know how to use the equipment properly and because of the creepy guys trolling the area; and/or
- They don’t understand and realize the tremendous physical and mental benefits associated with weight training.
Now, before you go and get your panties (did I mention I hate that word?) all in a bundle after reading what I just wrote…hear me out! I am not saying that all cardio is bad. I absolutely believe that your fitness program should be balanced and include several different activities to address the ten general characteristics of fitness (body composition, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility,power, speed and quickness, agility, balance, and motor skill).
Wow, that was really going back to the school textbooks with the “ten characteristics of fitness”! But that is just my point: your fitness routine/program shouldn’t be just a one trick pony!! Your body is an amazing machine and you should be partaking in exercise activities that are going to enable it to function on all levels, not just running or biking for cardio, Yoga for flexibility, or even just weight training for muscular strength/endurance etc. Another thing is that so many women get stuck in this vicious cycle of not losing any weight or being “skinny fat”, so they attempt to burn more fat by doing endless amounts of cardio…which only ends up slowing down their metabolism and burning off precious muscle tissue.
So, let’s circle back here since I kind of went off on a little bit of a tangent! ???? Do I think doing moderate amounts of cardio is a bad thing? Not necessarily, but I would also like to see more women factor in some weight training to their routine as well. They are missing out on so many valuable health benefits that come with a solid weight training program. If you aren’t convinced, here are nine more reasons for you:
Nine reasons that strength training should be a part of your workout program:
- Be stronger: Being stronger isn’t just about pumping more iron. It’s about easing day-to-day tasks, such as carrying in the groceries and cleaning the house. Strength training improves your ability to perform these tasks.With strength training, you’ll:
- Burn more calories: Your body needs more calories to fix, build and use the muscles you pushed to their limit during your strength training routine. This makes your body a more efficient, calorie-burning machine, even while at rest.
- Handle stress better: Weight lifting releases endorphins, reduces tension and anxiety, and has even been shown to help fight depression!
- Have a healthier heart: Weight-bearing exercise helps prevent heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol, raising good cholesterol and maintaining healthy blood pressure.
- Build strong bones: Strength training and weight-bearing activities help to maintain bone density to reduce the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis as you age.
- Lower your risk of diabetes: Because lifting weights improves insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control, the activity lowers your risk of diabetes.
- Lose more weight: While strength training is often used to bulk up, it also burns fat. Diet alone breaks down fat and muscle for energy, but combined with weight lifting, you’ll burn more fat while maintaining lean muscle.
- Improve your posture: Don’t be surprised if you walk a little taller as improved muscle strength keeps your body more upright. With your shoulders back and your chin up, you’ll look and feel more confident!
- Focus better: With an hour or two of weight training each week, you’ll find it easier to concentrate on and execute various tasks.
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