The number one reason we here from people, especially women, they’re not including strength training into their exercise routine is that they don’t want to get bulky. The truth is, most women will NOT develop the amount of muscle that they associate with “bulky” without extreme training schedules and dietary changes. Building muscle has many health benefits for both men and women including the following:
- Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis– As we age, bone loss is gradual and painless. Because there are no outward symptoms, we are developing bone loss, it often goes unnoticed until something catastrophic happens. Your risk factors are categorized two different ways. Fixed risks, risks that you are unable to change that include age, gender, family history, and ethnicity. Modifiable risks, risks that you can change to decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis such as alcohol consumption, smoking, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise. Strength training targets the bones of the hips, spine, and wrists which are the bones most likely to fracture due to decreased bone density. Activities that place stress on the bones, such as weightlifting, can help activate bone-forming cells resulting in stronger, denser bones. The International Osteoporosis Foundation has a calculator to determine your risk factors for development of this silent disease.
- Decreased Risk of Diabetes– A recent study published by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings concluded that adults with moderate muscle mass where 32% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Other research shows that incorporating strength training improves glucose levels and decreases waist circumference, an indicator of excess fat associated with type 2 diabetes.
- More Muscle Mass Burns More Fat– On the surface it may seem like cardio is the best option for burning fat. But, building more lean muscle helps you increase your resting metabolism which in turn will burn more fat than cardio alone. One pound of muscle burns 10-20 calories per day whereas 1 pound of fat only burns 5 calories per day. Dieters that only do cardio tend to lose both muscle and fat vs those that incorporate resistance exercises into their training routine. Lifting weights can raise your metabolism and change your body composition vs cardio alone.
Lifting weights not only helps you look better, it improves your quality of life and reduces your risks for developing debilitating diseases.