As a woman, you might feel that cardio is the best type of exercise.
After all, cardio keeps you skinny, but lifting weights causes you to bulk up, right?
The reality is that weightlifting, also called resistance training, can help you stay slim, and it provides women with multiple perks.
Here, learn about three ways weight training is beneficial for women.
1) Better Bone Health
Women lose bone mass as they age, and they are especially prone to osteoporosis.
Fortunately, weight training can preserve bone mass and protect women from developing this condition.
In 2011, researchers for Experimental Gerontology compared the effects of resistance training to those of aerobic exercise on bone mass among older women.(1)
The researchers divided the members into three different groups:
- the first group did resistance training three times per week
- another did aerobic training thrice weekly
- and the last participant’s group served as a control
At the conclusion of the eight-month study, only the women in the resistance training group had experienced increases in bone mineral density.
Add a few weekly sessions of resistance exercises such as push-ups, squats, biceps curls, and sit-ups to your regular routine to protect yourself from age-related bone mineral loss and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
2) Less Weight Gain over Time
It’s no secret that people tend to put on weight as they age, but weight training can help women to prevent age-related weight gain.
In a 2010 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers analyzed the impact of weight training on a group of 122 women, with an average age of 56, divided into three groups and followed for six years.(2)
One group of women performed resistance training exercises three times per week for the duration of the study; another had the option to join the resistance training group one year into the study, and the third group was a control group.
Study results showed that women who exercised more frequently and performed more squats and military presses gained less weight and body fat over time.
Specifically, women who completed the least number of squats picked up a significant amount of weight and body fat over time, whereas those who performed the most squats maintained their body weight.
Adding just three weekly sessions of resistance training to your routine could, therefore, help you to fight against an expanding waistline as you age.
3) Improved Metabolism and Body Composition
Women tend to have slower metabolisms and more body fat than men do, but weight training can help women to stay on par with men.
In 2004, researchers for Experimental Gerontology analyzed the impact of weight training on both young and older women.(3)
The young women in the study were about 28 years old, on average, and the older women averaged about 67 years of age.
The study involved a six-month resistance training program, and results demonstrated that younger women had an enhancement in lean body mass and resting metabolic rate after completing the resistance training program.
After engaging in resistance training, the young women in the study burned 72 more calories per day when at rest.
Older women in the study lost fat mass and tended to gain lean body mass after completing the resistance training.
Regardless of your age, resistance training may help you to maintain fit, lean and attractive muscle.
Weight lifting can help women to achieve a slim appearance by increasing lean body mass and revving their metabolisms.
Weight lifting can also prevent weight gain over time, so contrary to popular belief, women who lift weights needn’t worry about becoming bulky.
Women who engage in weight lifting experience additional health-related benefits, as weight training can increase bone mineral density and protect them from developing osteoporosis, a condition to which women are especially vulnerable.
Weight training is therefore especially important for women, and it should be a part of their regular exercise regimen.
(1)Effects of resistance and aerobic exercise on physical function, bone mineral density, OPG and RANKL in older women JO – Experimental Gerontology PY – 2011 DO – https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2011.02.005
(2)Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 42(7):1286-1295, JUL 2010 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ca8115 PMID: 20019638 Issn Print: 0195-9131Publication Date: 2010/07/0
(3)Age-related differences in metabolic adaptations following resistance training in women, Experimental Gerontology,Volume 39, Issue 1,2004, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2003.10.006