You’ve all seen them at the gym, right? The well toned girls lifting weights over in the corner with the guys….It’s Fitness Friday and we are going to talk about some of the reasons why the girls over there lifting weights are so cool! By the way, I’ve always been one of the girls over on the bike or the treadmill, or if I’m feeling adventurous I might be spotted on the elliptical for 5 or 10 minutes! That is until the past 6 months or so when I realized that although I’m still young enough to be raising a pre-teen, I’m also old enough to have a 23 year old son and my bones are not going to get stronger if I walk all day on the treadmill!
This past summer and fall, I kept hearing all about how important weight lifting was for women; especially women over 40! I also enlisted the help of my favorite online personal trainer, Tamara Grand! Then I started doing my own research and discovered that it helps with weight loss
and a lot of other things, too!
Here’s a pretty funny article for busting some myths about women and weight lifting! A few years ago I would have thought this guy was crazy but after learning what I’ve learned the past six months I know that he’s right. (I’m not being paid to say this. I found this post on Google and laughed the whole time I was reading it. I found his article full of good, common sense and wanted to share some humor with you.)
Here’s another article with a lot of good information telling us about how important weight lifting is for women.
Lifting weights gives you an edge over belly fat, stress, heart disease, and cancer. It also helps stop osteoporosis (and can reverse it).
In one study, postmenopausal women who participated in a strength training program for a year saw significant increases in their bone density in the spine and hips, areas affected most by osteoporosis in older women. (I’m all about helping my spine and hips.)
Maintaining strong muscles through weight training helps to keep up your balance and coordination — a critical element in preventing falls, which can lead to osteoporosis-related fractures.
“We lose so much muscle as we age that by the time we’re 70, we only have about 50% to 55% of our muscle mass left,” says Beatrice Edwards, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and director of the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “That explains why we feel weak and tired as we age, and we can prevent some of that with weight training.”
“If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body,” says Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. “But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age.”
**You’ll Lose 40 Percent More Fat
If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading: When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.
Other research on dieters who don’t lift shows that, on average, 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat, while 25 percent is from muscle. Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn’t improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost. However, if you weight train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.
Your Clothes Will Fit Better
Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50, you’ll likely lose 10 percent of your body’s total muscle. Worse yet, it’s likely to be replaced by fat over time, says a study. And that increases your waist size, because one pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space than one pound of muscle.
You’ll Burn More Calories
Lifting increases the number of calories you burn while your butt is parked on the couch. That’s because after each strength workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibers. In fact, researchers found that when people did a total-body workout with just three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward. They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared with those who didn’t lift. (I’m all about whatever I can do to burn calories while I sit as I find I sit a lot more than I thought I did!)
Lifting gives you a better burn during exercise too: Doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) can expend 159 to 231 calories. That’s about what you’d burn if you ran at a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.
Your Diet Will Improve
Exercise helps your brain stick to a diet plan. University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults and found that those who didn’t follow a three-hours-a-week training regimen ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day. The reverse was also true—sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. The study authors say both diet and exercise likely remind you to stay on track, aiding your weight-loss goals.
You’ll Handle Stress Better
Break a sweat in the weight room and you’ll stay cool under pressure. Scientists determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit. Another study found that after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle.
You’ll Be Happier
Yoga isn’t the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise. Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood. (Can you say happy momma?)
You’ll Build Stronger Bones
As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin—a marker of bone growth–by 19 percent.
You’ll Get Into Shape Faster
The term cardio shouldn’t describe only aerobic exercise: A study found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise—so you save time without sacrificing results. (Raising my heart rate makes me feel like I’m working out harder, so if I can do that I’m all over it!)
Your Heart Will Be Healthier
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total-body weight workouts a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40 percent and the chance of a heart attack by 15 percent. (With family history of heart disease, I want to do everything I can to create a healthier heart and help prevent a heart attack!)
You’ll Be Way More Productive
Lifting could result in a raise (or at least a pat on the back from your boss). Researchers found that workers were 15 percent more productive on days they exercised compared with days they didn’t. So on days you work out, you can (theoretically) finish in eight hours what would normally take nine hours and 12 minutes. Or you’d still work for nine hours but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job–another perk reported on days workers exercised. (Less stress makes for a more productive household!)
You’ll Live Longer
University of South Carolina researchers determined that total-body strength is linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Similarly, other scientists found that being strong during middle age is associated with “exceptional survival,” defined as living to the age of 85 without developing a major disease. (Nice long life means I get to watch my kids and future grandkids grow up!)
You’ll Be Even Smarter
Muscles strengthen your body and mind: Brazilian researchers found that six months of resistance training enhanced lifters’ cognitive function. In fact, the sweat sessions resulted in better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span. (I’m willing to do a lot to be smarter – even lift weights! teehee!)
The point of my post today is to show you that just because you think you aren’t able to lift weights, or think you don’t want to “look like a guy” or “bulk up”, or think you don’t want to lift weights your health and fitness goals depend on it! And you will NOT look like a guy or bulk up if you lift weights! You are already lifting some pretty heavy weights every time you go to the grocery store, or pick up your son or daughter (niece or nephew or grandkids or the neighbor hood kids). Now is the time for you to go to the gym and do some weight lifting! And if you don’t know what you are doing (**raising hand high**) get some help from a personal trainer (or the hunky guy you’ve been eye-balling every time you go to the gym)! Your bones (and your shrinking jeans) will thank you for it!!
Over the past 6 months I have been giving weight lifting a try. I’m really trying to like it. I haven’t been as consistent as I have wanted to but I’m getting better at it and finding that I’m not afraid to lift 15# and 20# weights anymore! I am finding that my body is responding to the weights, too! I feel the effects of the weight lifting and I will be continuing it (even if my mind tells me not to)!
Do you lift weights? Why or why not? You should do it, if you don’t as you can see from all this evidence!
**Source: Women weight lifting
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