written by Corey L. Lewis
In the past, strength training was a male-dominated field. The possibility of looking “too masculine” has driven some women away from the benefits of strength training. Society is changing, and many women are taking advantage of the health benefits that come from building muscle. In tandem with its physical benefits, particularly for women, strength training is a great way to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
What is strength training?
Strength training is defined as a system of physical conditioning in which muscles are exercised by being worked against an opposing force to increase strength.
Sometimes, people get bored with cardio, and strength training helps to add variety to their workouts. It’s hard enough to stick to a workout regimen, and if you are just going to be in the gym everyday working endless miles on the treadmill that monotonous routine gets boring quickly. With strength training, you can engage in a new workout every time you go to exercise.
If you are wondering how to start, try the internet. You can find thousands of workout plans that cover everything from lifting weights to squatting with resistance bands over your knees. One website that could be useful is a 1AND1 Life website, for example, where you can also find nutrition and general fitness tips.
Contradictory to the perceived assumptions, strength training does not necessarily lead to massive muscle gains. You get to decide whether you want your workouts to be more focused on toning, improving your endurance and stamina, or to build more muscle mass. In fact, if your goal is weight loss, you’ll find that your body burns hundreds of more calories even after you stop working out.
You do not have to start training by going to your local gym and deadlifting three times your body weight. Instead, you can go to your local supermarket or a fitness store and pick up 10 – 15-pound dumbbells to incorporate into your normal workouts. Alternatively, you can find various weight lifting equipment online.
Benefits of strength training for women
Instilling the lifestyle little by little goes a long way. Superficially, strength training has tons of benefits.
Besides looking toned, you can actually create stronger and denser bones by lifting weights. Consistency over time goes a long way in weight training. Stronger bones are especially important for women who are at risk of osteoporosis, leaving you less vulnerable to fracturing joints and obtaining other potential damaging injuries over time.
If you enjoy running marathons, strength training can even enhance your running ability. Wearing a weighted vest or ankle weights mimics a resistant force holding you back that helps improve your everyday running abilities and enhance your marathon day performance.
On a more serious note, lifting weight has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health. A study conducted at Appalachian State University provided evidence to support the notion that people who performed 45 minutes of moderate-intensity strength training workouts have been shown to lower their blood pressure by at least 20%.
Strength training offers an array of unique workouts that can be done in tandem with a well-balanced cardio routine. A part of why it helps controls weight is because it creates an efficient way for your body to increase lean body mass and burn calories more efficiently.
It has also been known to help improve the quality of one’s sleep and serve as an effective energy booster. As you continue with your workout sessions, you’ll start to feel energized in your everyday life as you start to use every part of your body. This total immersion helps you to focus on tasks in, and out of the gym. After an intense workout, there’s no better feeling than realizing that you made improvements, or pushed yourself harder than you thought you could.
Ultimately, the greatest benefit to strength training is the confidence that comes with it and the improvements you’ll get from toning and gaining muscle, both physically and mentally.
The human body was meant to move, lift, and push itself to the limit. So, when you take the time to use your body the way it needs to be used instead of sitting a desk for 6 hours, it’s like your telling your body you appreciate it. The sooner you internalize the proven benefits of strength training, the sooner you can exponentially improve your fitness for years to come.
Corey Lewis has a B.S. in Communications and M.S in Sports Administration from The University of Illinois and he is the Co-Founder and CEO of 1and1 Life. Before that, he played football in the Big Ten Conference at The University of Illinois. He was part of the Academic All Big-Ten for three years and won the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. Afterwards, he played a short stint as a professional football player and persevered through four ACL surgeries and seven knee surgeries. These trials ultimately strengthened him—and the life lessons and practical advice he gained during those years have been integral to his role at 1and1 Life.