Cardio exercises are at the top of the list when it comes to maintain a healthy heart, but weight training is more than building muscle (that goal that men dream of and women fear so much). In fact, weight training is a great workout for both men and women, when done properly.
Strengthen your muscles
Regular weight lifting workouts will tone and strengthen your muscle. It’s true you’ll also increase your muscle mass, although women don’t gain as much as men (due to significantly lower levels of testosterone and natural muscle mass to begin with).
So, even if you’re a woman, weight training can be good for you. You don’t need to lift 40-pound weights and turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger; you can strengthen your muscles with lighter weights, suitable for your height, age…etc.
Of course strength training will increase your physical work capacity, but that also means you’ll be more energetic and resilient throughout your regular daily activities (work, shopping…etc.).
Increase your metabolism
It’s true cardio exercise burns more calories than weight training, but weight training increases your muscle mass. Your body will burn about 50 extra calories for every pound of muscle you gain, resulting in long-term increase of the metabolic rate, not just during your workout.
If you join a strength training program for the first time you might experience no weight loss and even slight weight gain at first. However, you’ll probably feel slimmer, because you actually are! Muscles are denser than fat. To make sure you see the results accurately you should also measure your waist circumference a couple of times a month.
Besides stronger muscles to support the bones, weightlifting also improves bone density, preventing osteoporosis a disease which affects mostly women, although men can also develop it. Strength training also makes your joints more powerful and prevents them from becoming more rigid as you age.
People that have sedentary jobs can often develop back and neck pains from the long hours of sitting in a chair. Lifting weights on a regular basis can certainly alleviate those pains and reduce the risk of many medical conditions related to a sedentary lifestyle, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Pretty much anyone can benefit from strength training, and while you can gain muscle mass, women will certainly get it a lot harder than men. There are also many different weightlifting programs, and not all of them are dedicated for increasing the size of your muscles.
If you decide to start a strength training workout routine, make sure you progress slowly to avoid injuries. Also, an instructor can help you choose a program suitable for your goals, current state of health and other variables.