When I ask my female clients if they work out with weights, I either get a blank look or a reply like, "I don't want to get too bulky". There are a lot of myths around strength training, and women "bulking up" by lifting heavier weights is one of them. I recently came across a great website that breaks down these strength training myths. Take a look at Seven Strength Training Myths Women Should Know
And if you think you're too old to reap the benefits of strength training, ladies, listen to Ms. Willie Murphy, who started strength training at age 73 and is now a competitive dead-lifter at 77. You may not be as lean and keen as Ms. Murphy at 105 pounds. But her comments about having no trouble lifting her grandchildren or pushing her car out of the snow are just a few of the benefits you reap by incorporating some resistance training into your daily life - at any age!
And it doesn't mean you have to buy expensive equipment, or go join a gym. It’s more about engaging in more strenuous activity when you exercise. It’s picking up heavy things (e.g., pushing a heavy wheel barrow while gardening; carrying your kids on a hike; exercising with your our own body weight by doing push ups or lunges; taking a walk with a small weighted back pack).
Incorporating strength training into your exercise routine can reap a myriad of benefits. Here are just a few to consider:
- It enhances bone density in women and reduces the risk of fractures (especially important in post-menopausal women)
- It boosts your metabolism (a must if you want to burn off that fat)
- It helps you develop better body mechanics (balance, flexibility and posture all tend to improve)
- It reduces your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
- It boosts energy and reduces stress by elevating "endorphin" production (a natural opiate produced by the brain)
If you're not sure how to get started, seek advice from your local physiotherapist or fitness expert. Incorporate strength training as a fitness objective - it's a great natural anti-depressant, can help you burn the fat off, sleep better, and improve your overall quality of life.