How Women Can Benefit from Weight Training
February 26, 2014
If you are a woman under the impression weight training is solely for men, you are in for a surprise.
Many women shun weight training and rely heavily on the cardio due to unfounded fears of bulking up. As it turns out, however, weight training not only offers a slimmer and healthier (but not bulkier) body, but it also offers numerous physical and emotional benefits.
Here’s a glimpse of how women can benefit from weight training.
Lose Weight and Build Muscle
Most women do not produce nearly enough testosterone to gain “too much” muscle. In fact, a majority of women need to spend countless hours in the gym and supplement with hormone-altering products to pack on the bulky pounds often seen in bodybuilding competitions.
In fact, personal trainer Shannon Clark asserts weight training is beneficial for women’s weight loss. She points out extra muscle not only promotes higher energy expenditure throughout each day, it also creates a better hormonal environment for women.
While cardio triggers the release of cortisol, the stress hormone that increases abdominal fat tissue, weight training encourages a balanced hormonal environment that supports lean muscle growth.
Boost Your Mood and Your Self-Esteem
Statistics show over 70% of women feel worse about their looks after reading women’s magazines. Similarly, about 74% of normal-weight women say they think about their appearance “all of the time,” or “frequently.”
Too much focus on appearance often has negative effects on body image; consequently, eating disorders, body disorders, depression, and anxiety result.
Fortunately, weight training helps you feel more confident about your strong, capable body, as well as achieve a healthy, toned body composition.
Additionally, research has long shown the correlation between exercise and reductions in anxiety and depression. Some studies even show exercises are more effective treatments than counseling sessions.
Increase Bone Density and Prevent Osteoporosis
Bone disease, or osteoporosis, is an issue that plagues older women and accounts for over 1.5 million fractures annually in US women over 50. Fortunately, weight training significantly increases bone density and prevents bone disease.
Multiple studies show the “load bearing” effect anaerobic and resistance exercise have on bones increases their density. Better still, resistance exercise (weight training) results in greater bone density effects than aerobic exercises. And, resistance exercise increases muscle mass, coordination, and balance which prevent falls, fractures, and bone injuries.
One study tested an anaerobic/weight training group against a control group and administered calcium supplements to certain subjects. Researchers found exercise played a greater role in increasing bone density while calcium played little to no role.
-  Bergen, Jenna. “Why Women Don’t (But Should) Lift Weights.” Prevention.
-  Clark, Shannon. “Fat Loss Wars: Cardio Vs. Weight Training!” BodyBuilding.com. April 2009.
-  “Body Image.” Brown University. Health Education
-  Martinsen, E. W., Hoffart, A., & Solberg, Ø. (1989). “Comparing aerobic with nonaerobic forms of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression: a randomized trial.” Comprehensive Psychiatry, 30(4), 324-331.
-  Layne, J. E., & Nelson, M. E. (1999).”The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise,31(1), 25-30.
-  Friedlander, A. L., Genant, H. K., Sadowsky, S., Byl, N. N., & Glüer, C. C. (1995). “A two?year program of aerobics and weight training enhances bone mineral density of young women.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 10(4), 574-585.