Some women tend to stick to a particular fitness routine that usually does not include lifting weights like dumbbells or kettlebells. Why? There is a perception one may become “big and bulky” or resemble The Hulk. This is not necessarily the case; in fact, women lack a certain balance of hormones, testosterone and growth hormones, to put on muscle mass the way men do. By differing in hormone levels, women are naturally more lean and feminine.
It would take a long-term commitment while consistently pushing yourself to do more than recreational workouts. In addition, it’s also going to take a big nutrition push.
Maintaining a fit and strong body allows your muscles to better support you throughout the day. Muscle mass helps you prevent and avoid serious back pain, have stronger bones, and improve your posture, balance and coordination. Lifting weights has several advantages to your overall body health and strength. In this post I’ll explain why all women should seriously adopt weightlifting into their fitness routines.
You Should Use Dumbbells Because:
It Burns Calories…Fast.
Lifting high level of weight can burn up to 500 calories an hour. Additionally, this also raises your metabolism for several hours after your workout. Many see the best results when they work-out a variety of muscles and minimize their rest time between sets. Ultimately, what you eat is the most important thing when it comes to weight loss. Weight training when paired with a healthy diet is the most effective method for dropping pounds.
Many people are looking for new equipment that takes up less space but has all the benefits of a traditional dumbbell. If you live in a small apartment or simply just don’t have the space, a few pairs of dumbbells are a space-saver that can be stored under the bed, or in the closet.
Gain Muscle…Ditch the Bulk
In many cases, weightlifting does not cause a woman to “get bulky”. In fact, it allows them to tone their body by becoming leaner. The muscles you workout have stronger and thicker fibers. What does that mean? It means it enhances performance in endurance sports such as rowing, cycling, or running.
Steve Commando explains the importance of muscles in the blog post “Why Women Should Lift Weights.” While explaining why muscle is functional he explains “Got kids? Then, chances are, you’ve had to do your fair share of lifting, carrying and squatting. Ever moved house[s]? How did it feel to move the TV or big cumbersome pieces of furniture? Do you buckle under the weight of the weekly groceries?” I feel this is a perfect explanation of how often women rely on our muscles to conduct daily routines. By focusing on improving muscle strength, you can make daily challenges easier.
Protect your bones and prevent injuries as you age by weightlifting. Starting with dumbbells is a perfect way to slowly increasing strength and allowing you move forward. Today, more women are at risk of developing Osteoarthritis (OA) making it important that women incorporate strength training into their fitness routines. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Studies show that weakness of the muscles surrounding the knee is associated with OA, especially in women, and makes the pain and stiffness worse after onset. Strengthening exercises for thigh muscles are important in reducing the risk.” Maintaining strong muscles through weight training can also potentially decrease your chances of certain diseases. These diseases may include:
- Heart Disease
Strength training such as lifting dumbbells is important for cardiac health because heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner. Many people feel self-confident as a result from their efforts. Some believe this plays a significant role in reducing symptoms of depression which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “One 12-month study conducted on postmenopausal women at Tufts University demonstrated 1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75% increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance with just two days per week of progressive strength training. The control group had losses in bone, strength, and balance. Strength training programs can also have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures.” Researchers have found that diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Lifting weights and strength training is found to have dramatically improved glucose control in a way that is comparable to taking diabetes medication.
Improves Posture & Coordination
Many people feel they have no real control over their posture and are unsure of how to correct years of neglect. Your posture comes from a variety of muscles surrounding your spine and strength of your mid-line. Many women focus on their efforts on their stomach area. Perhaps you want to be “bikini ready,” but in order to achieve a neutral spine and good posture, it’s important to develop all of these areas equally.
It’s a fact that as people age, bones become relatively fragile. Having poor balance and could contribute to fractures or broken bones. A seemingly minor fall can actually become severe. These fractures can result in disability and, in some cases, can be fatal. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s flexibility and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of falls. One study in New Zealand conducted with women 80 years of age and older showed a 40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.” Fitness Town carries a large variety of equipment designed for specific injuries and rehabilitation.
Weight Management & Sleep Improvement
Weight lifting can be considered as crucial to weight control; because individuals who have
more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. The higher the metabolism rate, the faster your body’s muscle tissues will consume calories.
Alternatively, people who exercise regularly are more likely to increase their sleep quality. You may find yourself falling asleep more quickly, sleeping deeply, awaken less often, and sleeping longer.
Too many women leave weight lifting to the boys; yet, it’s exactly what they should be doing. Let’s face it, strength is the new sexy for your body’s appearance and overall health. So get out your dusty dumbbells you have kicking around or find more options to mix up your weekly workouts to boost your health, trim down and firm up without the bulk.
Author: Marissa Jesko
Marissa Jesko is currently the marketing assistant for Fitness Town based in British Columbia and we thank Marissa for her contribution to our blog!