Weight Training for Women: 6 Reasons weights should be a part of your exercise routine
There are so many ways to exercise. There’s yoga, pilates, cycling, swimming, running, weight lifting and so many more. Everyone has different preferences, which is why everyone is drawn to different ways to move their body. I think that’s awesome. It’s important to find a form of exercise that you will actually show up for and consistently do.
As a trainer, I recommend lots of different types of exercises for various reasons. I might recommend yoga to someone struggling with mobility or high stress levels. I might recommend spin class to someone who loves music and wants to get their heart pumping. The only form of exercise that I will recommend to every single client, family member, friend, or stranger is weight training. It’s THAT important. No matter what their goal or ability level is, they are going to benefit from getting a weight in their hands.
What is weight training?
A form of exercise that involves lifting weights. It includes barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and pulley machines. There are pros and cons to each type of weight, but they are all included in weight training and they all will help you get stronger.
Let's get to it. Why is weight training essential for women?
1. Weight training will prevent loss of muscle mass.
Everyone probably knows that weight training will increase muscle mass. That’s why I didn’t even bother to put it on this list. But did you know that as you get older, your muscle mass will start to decrease? After age 40, your muscle mass starts to decline. It can reduce by as much as 50% by the time you are 80.  That can lead to falls, loss of function, and an overall decrease in quality of life.  The good news? It’s never too late to rebuild. Get to strength training and your muscle mass will grow.
2. Weight training strengthens your bones.
Bones get stronger in response to the forces that are placed on it. Basically, if you don’t stress your bones, they will not grow. In fact, your bones begin to get weaker over time. Yep, just like your muscle mass. Weight training is a great way to ensure that your bones are getting the load that they need to stay strong. Lifting weights ensures that all of the bones in your body, not just your legs, are carrying a load. For women, this is especially important. Women can lose 10-20% of their bone density in the years surrounding menopause.  This can lead to debilitating fractures in the future. It’s never too late to add weights to your routine in order to slow or reverse bone loss.
3. Weight training can prevent injury.
If you know how to lift a barbell, you also know how to lift a heavy box. Through weight training, you will learn how to use your body in the most optimal way to prevent injuries down the road.
In addition to knowing proper form, the strength you’ve developed can prevent an injury. I can use a personal example for this one. In 2013, I dislocated my knee cap which resulted in surgery. My orthopedic surgeon told me that I needed to strengthen my quads to prevent it from happening again. Knowing what I do now as a trainer, I firmly believe that whole injury could have been avoided if I’d had stronger legs in the first place.
4. Weight training can decrease pain.
Many causes of pain can be addressed by strength training. Often, joint pain is improved by strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint. Low back pain can be alleviated with increased core strength. No, this doesn’t apply to every cause of pain. That’s where a physical therapist is useful. They can assess your issue and determine if weight training will help.
5. Weight training increases your independence.
Ever had to lift something heavy and had to ask for help? No more! Well, there’s still obviously going to be a limit to how much you can lift on your own, but the limit will be higher!
I used to bartend for a catering company and had to carry my share of heavy boxes or coolers. I can’t tell you how many times a male coworker would suggest that I was going to need help with something and I’d prove them wrong. Now, I’m not saying not to ask for help when you need it, but it’s nice to not need help quite as often.
6. Weight training will improve your confidence.
Here’s the thing. Slinging steel makes you feel like a BOSS. The first time you lift a weight that is heavier than you’ve ever lifted before, you’ll feel so powerful. Seeing progress as the movements get easier and the weights get heavier is a feeling that is hard to beat. It can translate to other parts of your life. You’ll start feeling more capable and trust me, that is meaningful.
There are more, but if these reasons aren’t enough to get a weight in your hands, I don’t know what will be!
Let me know in the comments if you have any other reasons that you weight train!