Many fitness plans marketed for women emphasize the importance of cardio training for weight loss. However, research shows that including resistance training in your workout routine can provide more incredible benefits for your body composition, health, and wellbeing in the long term.
You might have heard the myth that resistance training can harm your aesthetics. It's common to assume that it'll cause you to bulk out or look manly. However, this isn't the case at all. You can strength train regularly and still have a feminine figure while losing weight, building lean muscles, and becoming healthier. Let's look at some of the key benefits of resistance training that you should keep in mind.
#1. Supports Fat Loss/Weight Loss
It's commonly assumed that cardio is the best way to lose weight, particularly for women. However, studies suggest that strength training will prompt your body to burn more calories after your session is over by increasing post-workout oxygen consumption. When you're trying to get leaner, strength training will help you stay in calorie deficit, thus supporting you to succeed.
#2. Helps Hold Onto Muscle
Another critical benefit of resistance training is that it does help us retain and build muscle. This means weight-bearing exercise becomes even more vital as we age because we lose more muscle over time unless we do something about it. Indeed, age-related muscle loss is considered a natural part of aging. After turning 30, you will lose about 3% to 5% of muscle tissue every decade. Resistance training helps prevent this, allowing you to build and maintain muscle mass.
#3. Strengthens Joints and Bones
Your bones are another part of your body that change as you age, especially after you reach menopause. Through resistance training, you can put your bones under higher levels of stress. The right amount of load will lead to the bones strengthening. This can help to prevent common health conditions such as Osteoporosis.
#4. Improves Cognitive Health
According to recent research conducted in 2020, resistance training may also improve cognitive health. Again, your cognitive abilities can change as you age. Resistance training may improve the working memory while also causing significant jumps in processing speed and response inhibition. The study found that results could be seen after just ten weeks of resistance training. So, you'll be able to stay sharper for longer and engage in all kinds of activity well into your senior years, may that be quizzes or a hiking trip.
#5. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Various studies have found that resistance training will significantly benefit cardiovascular health. For instance, some of the effects include lowering blood pressure, reducing bad cholesterol, and improving blood circulation levels. It has even been found to strengthen the blood vessels throughout the body. So, while I wouldn't recommend stopping your aerobic and cardio exercises, adding strength training to your schedule will boost your heart health.
#6. Aids Stress Management and Mental Health
Cardiovascular exercise is a proven method of reducing your stress levels. This is due to the happy hormones serotonin and endorphins coursing around your body during and after a session. The research is somewhat limited on resistance training's effect on stress and mental health. Still, there's evidence to suggest that resistance training supports improvements in a range of issues like anxiety, self-esteem, and depression. If you have been stressed due to work-life or home life, "for a mental lift, you should weight lift".
#7. Boosts Confidence
Resistance training has been known to boost your confidence levels, as the research quoted in the previous point supports that. Why does it happen? During your weightlifting experience, you'll be able to hit targets you never thought possible. After that, you'll see yourself in a completely different light, and on top of that, your physique will change, so you feel better when looking in the mirror. You may even be able to fit into those jeans that were once too tight.
#8. Lowers Risk of Injury
One of the benefits of resistance training is that it lowers your risk of getting injured while exercising or performing your everyday activities. Most people don't get injured during a session but often during daily tasks like lifting a box from the floor, walking on uneven pavements, washing their teeth, leaning over the sink, or reaching something at a height. When you regularly train for strength, performing the exercises with the correct form, your body will become stronger, the joints more mobile and stronger, and the movement patterns will transfer to your everyday life.
#9. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Experiencing issues with blood sugar and insulin levels now affects many people. That doesn't mean they have diabetes, they might have insulin resistance, but sadly, it can become Type 2 Diabetes when it's not handled. Of course, people need to watch their diet when glucose metabolism isn't working correctly, but the other best way to help their body cope with insulin issues is to increase muscle mass. Even if you don't have such problems, ensuring you keep hold of your muscle mass will help prevent them as you age.
#10. Promotes a Better Quality of Life
Resistance training can give you a better quality of life overall. It can make you a much happier, healthier person. When your body is strong, flexible, and doesn't limit your lifestyle, you can go after your dream adventure holiday, play with your kids or grandkids without getting tired, or even use your newly gained self-confidence to ask for a pay rise.
The best thing about strength training is that engaging in it even for one month can show you what difference it makes in all areas of your life. You won't want to stop once you feel and see the benefits. If you need some directions on getting started, feel free to get in touch!