There still seems to be a bit of a myth around weight training, unfortunately still within the female population. You may have heard that weight training can make women look bulky from building muscle, that it is dangerous or even muscle turning into fat if you stop. None of that is true. In fact, the NHS recommends that to stay healthy, adults should take part in two types of physical activity each week, aerobic exercise and strength training.
What actually is weight training?
Weight training is a type of strength training that uses weights for resistance. It provides a stress to the muscles that causes them to adapt and get stronger, similar to the way aerobic conditioning strengthens your heart. Weight training can be performed with free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells, or by using weight machines. You can also increase your strength through other types of resistance exercises, such as by using your body weight or resistance bands.
How often should we do it?
You don't have to be in the weight room for 90 minutes a day to see results. For most people, short weight training sessions a couple of times a week are more practical than are extended daily workouts. You can see significant improvement in your strength with just two or three 20- or 30-minute weight training sessions a week. That frequency also meets activity recommendations for healthy adults.
Main Benefits Include:
Improved fat loss: When lifting weights, you build lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the quicker your metabolism will work. This means that weight training will help to boost your metabolism, and in turn, burn more calories, meaning a reduction in body fat and improve weight loss. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 30 to 50 more calories per day!
Enhance your mood: Exercise releases endorphins which improve your mood, prevent pain, and fight depression. People who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their training.
Gain strength without size: Unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training. This is due to levels of testosterone women have compared to men. Typically, women have around 10% of the testosterone of men. Because of this, women will develop muscle tone and definition without the size.
Reduce risk or injury: Weight training not only strengthens muscles but also increases bone density. This reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. It also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability which, as a result, helps prevent injury.
Improve posture and reduce lower back pain: It can also help with correcting bad posture, and building a strong back and core will also help prevent any lower back pain.
Improve your athletic performance: Having a stronger body can also help with other sports by improving power, speed, agility and endurance. Weight training will help the body adapt to situations it will face during sport and also, throughout everyday life. Think about developing a training program that incorporates both aerobic exercise and strength training.
Reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes: Weight training can help to improve cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol, and in turn this will help to lower blood pressure. Using weight training as part of your routine will also improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes.
All the best