Strength-training is something many women are often afraid of getting into. Their hesitations range from fear of getting too big (muscular) to fear of injury. Maybe you can blame lazy and hasty generalisations that have been made about weight lifting, or you can blame ignorance. Either way, if your goal is to live a healthier life where you can increase your endurance and energy for the things you enjoy doing, then avoiding strength training is the quickest way to disqualify yourself from achieving your goal.
Why Strength Training?
Strength training is a great way to invest in yourself well into your old age. Inactive adults experience about 3 to 8 percent muscle mass loss per decade, according to Healthline, and resistance training helps increase resting metabolism (your body’s ability to continue burning calories while at rest) by about 7 percent while helping minimise muscle loss.
Trying to lose weight and shed some fat? You need muscle in order to burn fat. The more muscle you build and develop, the more efficiently your body can burn fat. Another great thing is that when you strength train, you not only preserve muscle mass, you preserve bone mass as well no matter how old you are.
As for women who are afraid of getting too bulky with strength training, you’ll be relieved to know that due to high levels of oestrogen in our body, it’s very difficult for us women to become overly muscular in a natural way. The changes that take place in our muscles when we lift weights involve toning, strength, and endurance. Not so much size. Of course, there are women who specifically strength train with the goal of building muscle mass, and they take supplements that aid in achieving that goal.
Because your body loses muscle mass with age, you end up increasing your fat percentage in place of lost muscle. One way you can prevent that is by strength training.
How to get started
If you’ve never done strength or resistance training before, you can start easy by using your own bodyweight. Do exercises like planks, pushups, squats, lunges, calf raises, and kick backs using only your body weight. Once you’ve found doing sets of 4 with 10 to 12 reps of those relatively easy, then it’s time to step it up by incorporating weights. You can use dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, or weight plates. Some use medicine balls too. A personal trainer at a gym can help guide you if it’s your first time. It’s important to execute proper form to avoid injury.
Some exercises can be done using resistance bands. I like to use resistance bands around my thighs while I do squats, kickbacks, and crab walks to help work my gluteus muscles. The great thing about using resistance bands is that you are free to get creative with your workouts and aren’t limited by the standard executions as you would with dumbbells. And again, be sure to consult with a fitness professional if it’s your first time.
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