Strength training is more than hitting the gym and lifting weights. It’s about getting in shape and keeping a positive outlook. It’s about time that women discover the benefits of strength training.
Here are eight reasons why you should try it out.
1. Boosts Your Mood
Several studies have concurred that strength training has a net positive effect on a person’s mental well-being. That’s because when the body is active, the brain releases endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good hormones. Studies show that in just ten weeks, strength training can help a person deal with depression better than regular counselling.
A research done by Justin Strickland and Mark Smith found that low to moderate intensity training is best for anxiety reduction. Compared to cardio exercise, weight training is also better in reducing stress and irritability, especially for women who are clinically diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
2. Improves Body Image
The way you see yourself or how you feel about your body improves as you progress with your strength training. In one study, women’s body image significantly improved after twelve weeks of consistent exercise. The positive physical results are highly associated with “several dimensions of body image, health-related quality of life, and physical activity behaviors, satisfaction, and comfort.”
3. Reduces Health Risks
The most obvious benefit of doing strength training is its impact on your physical health. You’re less likely to be at risk of several disorders like diabetes and even cancer. The heart, in particular, will receive the most benefit.
In just eight weeks, your HDL (good) cholesterol will be more efficient in removing LDL (bad) cholesterol from your bloodstream. In twelve weeks of training, you’ll have lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
According to studies, weight-bearing exercises promote muscular development and reduce lower back pains. For women with osteoporosis, strength training helps prevent bone fractures because it improves bone density.
4. Great for the Mind
An underrated benefit that comes with strength training is that it’s good for the mind. After all, when you have a healthy body, you also have a healthy mind. The two are connected.
When your body is at its optimal state, you’ll be able to focus your attention and energy on whatever it is you’re doing. In fact, a study conducted in one large southern university associated weekly strength training with higher GPAs – not a bad thing to add to your weekly routine if you’re still a college student.
5. Boosts Your Metabolism
When you build muscle, this boosts your metabolism, so your body keeps on burning more calories hours after your workout. This is known as the afterburn effect, which can last up to a whole day. As you progress and gain more muscle, your body will naturally burn more calories. Over time, your calorie requirements will also increase.
Though you will be eating more, you won’t necessarily gain weight because your body is already at the point where it’s a fat-burning machine. But if you’re planning to curb your cravings, strength training also helps lower ghrelin levels, a hunger-stimulating hormone.
6. Better Sleep
There’s a direct link between exercise and sleep. A daily routine of 20 to 30 minute strength training will result in better sleep. Researchers who have interviewed athletes and weight lifters have taken note of this significant correlation.
Some studies have also found that the benefits go beyond improved sleep; weight training also helps people dealing with insomnia fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. Sleep and exercise are interdependent. A good night’s sleep keeps your hormones balanced, which in turn helps in muscle growth and repair.
7. Decreases Chance of Injury
You don’t need to worry about injuring yourself in the gym as long as you perform the strength training exercises correctly. That’s why it’s best to have a professional help you out, especially if you’re still new. More importantly, the risk of injury outside the gym is also reduced. Lifting helps in bone and muscle development and strengthens tendons and ligaments.
But gym accidents are still a fact of life, and injuries are bound to happen regardless of how careful you are or how good you’ve become. Sprains are the most common. Muscle tapes are a new innovation that just might save you a trip to the hospital.
8. Empowers You
Over time, you’ll eventually gain your footing in the gym. At first, you’ll feel overwhelmed and unsure if you can do a pull-up and other physically straining feats. But if you stick to a plan and be consistent with your performance, those exercises that you needed help doing, you can now do on your own.
Upon seeing the results of your hard work and dedication, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction, and that is empowering. Strength training starts off as something you do for your body, but you’ll eventually learn that its benefits affect you in more ways than one.