Sorry guys, this blog is for the ladies. There have been some newer studies showing the critical importance of strength training for women. Growing older comes with some adverse health changes that occur specifically to women more than men.
The two aspects that weight training addresses for women are Osteoporosis and Type 2 Diabetes, both relatively severe health concerns as women age.
Let's take a look at one study which tracked almost 100,000 women and the findings used came from a Nurses Health Study at the Harvard School of Public Health. The study followed these women over a set period and determined that 60 minutes a week of strength-building reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The next positive aspect of strength training for women is in regards to Osteoporosis. Within these studies, some fascinating elements were found that may surprise you.
A study in the UK found that weight training or weight-bearing exercises starting when girls are young can, in fact, enhance their ability to avoid osteoporosis as they age. The study found that building bone density from weight-bearing exercise creates a foundation that can be retained and maintained over a lifetime.
More research has found solid links for the postmenopausal woman who maintained a weekly regimen of strength and weight training. The women followed in these studies saw a significant increase in their maintenance and percentage of bone density over a years time. Additional data also shows that senior women with increased bone density suffer from fewer hip and bone fractures from falls and better mobility through their twilight years.
So let's take another look at weight training and building lean muscle for your body. When you develop lean and healthy muscle tissue, you are enhancing critical aspects that will help you maintain long-term health. Strong lean muscle increases bone density, metabolism, reduction of body fat and better mobility for both young and old.
The stand-out benefits of strength training for your body is it's ability to improve your overall function from connective tissue, physical performance, metabolic efficiency and reduces the risk of injury when being active.
The term for building muscle mass is called hypertrophy which should not be confused with muscle conditioning. There are two specific approaches to the type of muscle you can develop.
The first type is building muscular endurance which gives your muscles the ability to work for extended periods of time. This kind of training requires lifting lighter weights or using weaker resistance equipment coupled with a high number of repetitions with fewer sets and short rest periods between your regimen.
The second type of strength training is where the term muscle hypertrophy comes into play. This aspect is where there is increased bone density and can be a significant asset for women who are trying to improve body composition. With this type of training, you lift moderate to heavy loads doing low repetitions with a bit more recovery time between sets.
To get started with strength training or perhaps just needing to change up your current workout regimen to increase your muscle mass, here are a few options:
1. Start with compound exercises, which is where your weight training includes more than one joint and muscle group together. Compound exercises give you a much better-balanced workout using activities that involve several muscle groups at the same time. Some good examples are squats and chin-ups such as when doing squats, you engage the joints of the knee, hip, and ankle. At the same time, it fires the muscles of the upper and lower legs and gluteal muscles.
2. Fitness professionals recommend that you work on building a good base with whole body workouts before you start focusing on specific muscle groups or body parts. For example, you do not want to overdo upper body muscle development and under preform core and legs.
3. Recovery is an essential aspect of strength and muscle development. Fitness professions and elite athletes work out five to six times per week, but keep in mind that it took them a long time to get to that level of weekly regimens. Always avoid chronic exercise, it will slow progress and lead to injury.
4. Regardless of how fit you are, strength training regimens should not take longer than 45 minutes to get a full body workout. Most people do well with just three days a week and staying focused on the proper form along with good intensity workouts.
5. Make sure you get enough calorie and protein to support your body's ability to build muscle. Be sure to drink water... lots of water. Avoiding dehydration will help your muscles' recovery. If you do not get enough daily calories and proper nutrition, your training will become stalled and you will impact your overall health.
I can't stress the importance of strength and weight training for all ages of women. The single aspect of building and maintaining your muscle strength will help you manage your weight, reduce the chance of type-2 diabetes, develop proper bone density and give you an excellent quality of life as you age. It is one area of fitness that many women miss over their lifetime then pay the price in old age.
A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.