What are the benefits of weight lifting for women?
It goes without saying that all forms of exercise are beneficial, but it is now known that resistance training comes with the most benefits for women at all stages of life, whether you’re simply looking to get in shape and stay fit and healthy, are pregnant or post-natal, or are moving into the menopausal years.
Why choose resistance training
Proper resistance training is proven to make you stronger, not just by building muscle but also by building bone mineral density and by strengthening ligaments and tendons. This results in stronger bones and more stable joints and therefore a lower risk of injury and general aches and pains as we age.
A further benefit to an increase in muscle mass is a faster metabolism, since muscle requires energy to function. If resistance training is combined with the correct balance of nutrition (with focus placed on getting a good base of protein and remaining calories split between carbs and fat), this will lead to overall fat loss and improved body composition, creating the ‘toned’ appearance that is a goal for many women.
Cardio vs weights
In comparison to resistance training, cardio training such as running or HIIT can be taxing on the joints and catabolic to muscle mass, if done in excess; making it a less useful training method if strength, injury prevention or improved body composition are the goal.
Women’s health and exercise
At different phases of life, such as during pregnancy or the menopause, training can be modified to keep it appropriate and to optimise the benefits; such as reducing the intensity of resistance when pregnant or lowering the rep ranges and focussing on off-set movements to improve balance when menopausal.
Prenatal weight training has been proven to improve circulation; reduce swelling, leg cramps and muscular discomfort; ease gastrointestinal discomfort; reduce weight gain and improve body-confidence; reduce risk of lower back pain and assist easier & shorter labours. Whilst from the baby’s point of view, studies show that those born to mums who exercised during their pregnancy had better tolerance of late or long labours and had healthier hearts than other infants.
As women approach the menopause, oestrogen levels drop significantly which impacts bone density. Weight training helps to limit the impact of this by maintaining bone density and muscle mass to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It can also help to control and limit weight gain that can occur because of changes to hormones; stabilise core body temperature to reduce hot flushes, which in turn can also promote better sleep; reduce anxiety and improve both self-esteem and general mood levels.
Exercise & menstrual cycle
To a lesser degree, a woman’s menstrual cycle will affect workouts, particularly during the mid-luteal phase just before your period where an increased body temperature may make your body fatigue faster; but overall weight training helps to regulate hormones and is therefore beneficial throughout the month. It may simply be wise to listen to your body and not push too hard on a day where your body isn’t feeling it’s best!
Female Personal Trainers at TFR
It goes without saying that The Fitting Rooms personal training gym in London Bridge is a huge advocate of weight lifting for women, whatever stage you’re at. Our team of expert personal trainers
includes some incredible female personal trainers who have years of weight training behind them and are never happier than when they’re practising what they preach and smashing out PBs, like they are below.
If you’re interested in learning more about starting or progressing your weight training journey, get in touch to sign up for a Taster session