Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s so beneficial that you can safely include it in your daily routine. However, simply getting your heart rate up won’t necessarily yield all the results you’re hoping to see from your workout. If you’re exclusively focused on cardio—a mistake many women make when they start to hit the gym—you may not see optimal benefits from your time spent exercising. However, by incorporating strength training into your routine, you can maximize the results of every workout.
Even if you do have some experience with weightlifting and other types of strength training, it’s helpful to work with a personal trainer to ensure that you are safely targeting the right muscle groups with proper form. Body Essentials can bring personal training to you with convenient online programs that offer plenty of variations to adapt to your increasing strength. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of strength training that you can look forward to.
Often, women will shy away from strength training in favor of cardiovascular workouts. This trend originates from the misconception that lifting weights will lead to added muscle bulk. But for women, strength training yields lean muscle definition without much added mass—women only have about 10% of the testosterone men do, so we simply don’t tack on muscle the same way.
Along with more visible definition in major muscle groups, you’ll start to feel noticeably stronger. Strength training can bring empowerment, endurance, and agility, as you’ll be better able to perform in both your workouts and in everyday tasks.
When you want to lose weight, it may feel like a hard 60-minute cardio workout will have a more significant impact on your progress than 15 minutes of strength training exercises. While you will burn more calories initially with the cardio workout, the strength training exercise will provide continued benefits throughout the day. As you build more lean muscle, your metabolism will increase. So, you’ll burn more calories per day when you practice strength training. Therefore, if you’re also following a balanced diet, you’ll see accelerated fat loss.
You may also find that focusing on different muscle groups in strength training allows you to design a workout routine that yields specific results. For example, you might focus more energy into toning the muscles in the upper and lower back to improve your posture.
The body naturally undergoes changes in the aging process that make us more prone to injuries, such as sprains and broken bones. While you can’t stop time from moving forward, you can fortify your body to prevent injuries by building more muscle tissue. Stronger muscles help absorb impacts from everyday activities, reducing the strain on the bones and joints. In addition, this type of exercise will help you maintain a healthier weight range for your frame, which reduces the added strain from excess body weight. For example, being just 10 pounds overweight can put about 40 pounds of pressure on your knees with every step you take, so managing your weight with strength training can be monumental for preventing injuries.
There’s also an emerging body of evidence that weight training can alter bone composition by increasing spinal bone mineral density. Therefore, it could be your best defense against osteoporosis, which is incredibly common in older women. Although damage from osteoporosis cannot be reversed once it starts, prevention through strength training at any age can have a profound impact.
Any type of exercise, including strength training, will release feel-good chemicals in the brain (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine), which immediately boost your mood and reduce stress. The benefits can extend well beyond those first few minutes after your workout, however. You may begin to sleep better, respond to stress differently in daily life, and have more confidence in yourself and your fitness. Emotional wellness is just one more good reason to include strength training and other workouts in your daily routine.
Cardiovascular exercises like walking, running, and biking are those most strongly associated with heart health. That’s because these workouts increase your heart rate over an extended period. Still, you should not discount the benefits of weight training for your heart. Strength training has been shown to both reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and alter the way the body processes sugar to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. High cholesterol and diabetes are both among the most common cardiovascular health risk factors in American adults.
If you are ready to transform your life with a personalized fitness journey alongside a dedicated personal trainer, connect with Body Essentials. We offer several virtual training programs, including on-demand personal training, group training, and group fitness classes. Schedule your free consultation with us to find the program that’s best for your goals!