Is Strength Training Important for Women?
Should you be doing strength training?
Yes, absolutely, strength training is extremely important and also necessary for you. It’s a form of exercise that uses resistance to build and develop muscular strength and endurance. While it is often associated with men and bodybuilding, strength training is equally beneficial and important for women. In fact, it offers numerous advantages that can enhance a woman’s overall health, well-being, and quality of life. Let’s look at the many reasons why strength training is particularly good for you.
- First and foremost, strength training helps you to develop and maintain strong, healthy bones. As we age, we become more prone to osteoporosis, a health condition which weakens bones and decreases bone density, increasing the risk of fractures and breaks. Weight-bearing exercises, such as lifting weights and resistance training can stimulate bone growth and increase bone mineral density, reducing the likelihood of osteoporosis and related fractures. This becomes even more necessary during menopause, when we become more susceptible to bone loss due to hormonal changes.
- Strength training plays an essential role in achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition. Are you concerned about your body weight and do you often resort to trying various fad diets such as the cabbage soup diet or cleanses using only liquid or do you do excessive cardio exercises to lose weight and body fat. Apart from the fact that these diets are not sustainable, they are certainly not healthy due to the lack of nutrients. These approaches often lead to muscle loss along with fat loss, resulting in a decrease in metabolic rate and a higher likelihood of regaining the lost weight. In comparison, strength training helps to preserve and build lean muscle mass, which increases your basal metabolic rate and enables you to burn more calories even at rest. This, in turn, aids in weight management and promotes a more toned and sculpted physique.
- Make life easier for yourself as another benefit of strength training is improved functional strength and being able to carry out daily activities easily. Many routine tasks, such as lifting heavy objects, carrying groceries, reaching and lifting into high cupboards or playing with children, require physical strength. By engaging in resistance training, you can develop the strength and endurance necessary to handle these activities more efficiently, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing your overall physical performance throughout your daily life.
- In addition to physical benefits, strength training also offers significant mental health and wellbeing advantages. Exercise, including strength and resistance training, has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, also known as the ‘feel-good’ hormones, which can help to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Regular strength training sessions provide women with a positive release for stress management and can boost self-confidence and body image. Achieving personal goals, improving physical capabilities, and seeing progress in strength and muscle tone contribute to an increased sense of empowerment, self-acceptance and self-esteem.
- Strength training is also associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Regular exercise, including strength training, has been shown to improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders. For women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), strength training can be particularly beneficial in improving insulin sensitivity and managing symptoms associated with the condition.
- Moreover, strength training is crucial for women during pregnancy and postpartum. Prenatal strength and resistance training, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, can help strengthen the muscles needed to support the growing baby, alleviate back pain, and enhance overall fitness and well-being. Postpartum strength training aids in regaining muscle tone, improving posture, and increasing energy levels, which can be essential for new mothers as they handle the physical demands of caring for a newborn. Hannah is a pre & postnatal qualified personal trainer if anyone would like further assistance with exercise during pregnancy and postpartum.
- Importantly, strength training is not synonymous with bulky muscles or a masculine appearance, so you don’t have to worry about looking like Popeye! 😊 Women have significantly lower levels of testosterone, a hormone responsible for muscle hypertrophy, compared to men. As a result, women typically develop lean and toned muscles rather than excessive bulkiness. Strength training can help women achieve their desired physique, whether it is a lean and defined look or simply a healthier and more functional body.
To engage in strength training effectively and safely, it is advisable that you seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional who can provide an appropriate exercise programme, technique instruction, and progression exercises. At W Fitness, we use hydraulic resistance machines in our 30-minute circuit using a personalised programme tailored to your health and fitness goals. We can alter the resistances to suit your fitness abilities and increase these as you progress and get stronger. This is great as it means we can cater for all abilities from increasing mobility and flexibility up to building muscle and toning. The circuit consists of 10 stations, each working a different part of the body so that when you have completed the 30 minutes, you have done a full body workout. We also have our extensive class timetable too – why not try a HIIT class like BodyBlast, a strength class like Fitness Yoga, or a class to get your heart rate up like Zumba!
Have a look at us at www.wfitness.co.uk to see how we can help you learn to love resistance training, your body, and reach your goals in a safe, fun and welcoming environment 😊
Caroline & Hannah xx