Even if you’re a devoted fan of cardio, if strength training isn’t part of your regular exercise routine, you are really missing out. Whether you call it resistance training, weight lifting, or pumping iron – there are numerous benefits of strength training for women (and you men!) that you might not know about.
Sure, you’ll feel stronger, get leaner, and look more toned – but conditioning your muscles has much more to offer.
- Increase metabolism. When you commit to a strength training program, you will build more muscle. Muscles burn more calories than fat, ounce for ounce and pound for pound – even when you are asleep. By increasing your muscle mass, you will boost your resting metabolism – and you will burn more calories around the clock.
- Enhance your body image. When you know your body is strong and toned, your confidence will shoot up. You’ll be proud of the results of your work, and you should be. Taking care of your body isn’t an exercise in vanity; it’s an important element for building your self-esteem.
- Banish brain fog. Recent studies show that strength training increases cognitive function. While the stereotype of the gym rat may be dull and dense – it’s also outdated. Training strengthens the heart, and scientists speculate that this may improve blood flow to the brain and enhance its operation. Strength training for women and older adults especially seemed to increase brain function, including attention.
- Get better in bed. Simply put, a stronger body has more stamina for an intense bout of exercise – which accurately describes a great session in the sack.
- Alleviate suffering from chronic health conditions. Back pain got you down? Get in shape and it might just disappear. While strength training isn’t a magic cure-all that banishes disease from the body, it has been shown to reduce the signs and symptoms of chronic ailments such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and even digestive disorders.
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- Build confidence. There’s nothing like dead-lifting your body weight to give you an I-can-do-it attitude – not only at the gym, but in life as well. You’ll continuously be amazed at what your body can do when you give it the muscle movement it craves. Your newfound confidence will seep into other aspects of your existence.
- Meet new people. If you join a gym rather than work out at home, you’ll no doubt make new friends. Some fitness centers have special areas for strength training for women, and the changing room is also good for a chat (as long as neither of you are naked). And the people you meet at the gym are generally health-conscious types who are more likely to invite you for a bike ride than a night of beers – just the type of friends you need right now.
- Have more fun clothes shopping. Tired of buying loose-fitting shirts that hide your muffin top, and long sleeves that camouflage your flab? Most of us don’t have personal tailors, and you’ll find that clothes fit much better when you are in shape. Clothes shopping becomes fun again, and is no longer torture – so be sure to budget for some shopping incentives as a reward for your commitment to exercise.
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Woman working out in park image via Shutterstock