Many women harbor concerns about engaging in strength training, particularly when it comes to developing upper body strength. The fear of looking "bulky" or muscular often leads us to focus primarily on cardio exercises to reduce fat in specific areas. However, the process of gaining significant muscle mass is gradual, and the benefits of increasing muscle should not be overlooked.
Here are the top five reasons why all women should consider incorporating strength training into their fitness routines:
1.Enhanced Mental Well-being and Happiness
Strength training has significant benefits for our mental health and overall happiness. We know this, because we feel great after every class. But while studies are surprisingly limited on the impact of strength training on women, there are studies that prove we can gain a significant increase in self-esteem, a reduction in fatigue, anxiety and depression1, and that strength training can increase job satisfaction, desire to exercise and give you more energy for family and friends2. Connecting with people is another factor that contributes to positive wellbeing and happiness.
Strength training increases muscle mass, which elevates the body's resting metabolic rate3. As a result, people who engage in strength training burn more calories throughout the day, even while they’re resting. This is particularly helpful if you’re trying to reduce your body fat percentage. Muscle weighs more than fat, so while you may not lose weight, you will burn more fat, and look and feel healthier.
3.Increased Strength and Bone Density
Strength training builds muscle strength and improves overall physical performance. As we age, we naturally experience a decrease in muscle mass and bone density beginning in our 30s. Regular strength exercise helps counteract these effects, promoting stronger muscles, bones, and joints.
4.Improved Body Shape and Definition
Strength training is the most effective way to tone and sculpt your body. It helps you develop lean muscle mass, which can provide a more defined and athletic appearance. Strength training exercises targeting specific muscle groups can enhance overall body shape, including arms, legs, glutes, and core.
5.Injury Prevention and Improved Joint Health
Strength training strengthens muscles and connective tissues around your joints, providing better support and stability. This can reduce the risk of injuries, particularly in activities that involve repetitive movements or impact. Additionally, strength training can alleviate or prevent conditions such as osteoarthritis by improving joint integrity.
If you want to try strength training, or get more advice about the benefits for you, try one of our classes for free today.
- 1. MUSANTI, R. (2012) ‘A study of exercise modality and physical self-esteem in breast cancer survivors’, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(2), pp. 352–361. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31822cb5f2.
- 2. Jakobsen MD, Sundstrup E, Randers MB, Kjær M, Andersen LL, Krustrup P, Aagaard P. The effect of strength training, recreational soccer and running exercise on stretch-shortening cycle muscle performance during countermovement jumping. Hum Mov Sci. 2012 Aug;31(4):970-86. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2011.10.001. Epub 2012 Mar 6. PMID: 22397814.
- 3. Westcott WL. Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Jul-Aug;11(4):209-16. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8. PMID: 22777332.