In the past weeks we’ve been looking at the importance of strength training. And as we begin to understand more about the body, it’s becoming apparent that strength training and increased muscle mass is incredibly vital to our ongoing health.
There are several benefits to increasing your muscle mass:
- Improved mood and better resilience to stress and problem situations
- Increased fat loss and higher metabolic rate
- Better bone mineral density – stronger bones less prone to breaking
- Reduced insomnia and longer periods of quality, undisturbed sleep
- Improved quality of life and better perception of one’s own body
- Reduced chances of developing diabetes type I and II
- Better posture and less chance of muscular-skeletal pain
- Lower risk of mortality from breast cancer
And the list could go on further. However despite these many benefits, some women are concerned about putting on too much muscle – so in this article, we’ll clarify exactly what we mean by increasing your muscle mass…
Should women strength train…?
First up, once of the common misconceptions is that increasing muscle mass will lead to a bulky body. Truth is that muscle is hard to gain and many men who want to be bodybuilders find they struggle to build seriously large looking bodies. Women should not be afraid of building muscle because it’s actually incredibly tough to create serious gains.
However there are many health problems that become more prevalent in women, especially as they get older, such as osteoporosis, hypertension, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, varicose veins, cellulite and even heightened anxieties.
Strong evidence suggests that many of these health problems can be prevented through regular daily activity and staying away from a sedentary lifestyle. You might however be surprised to find out that strength training is even more beneficial than cardio training – even thought the two disciplines are invariably linked. If we improve our strength training, we get more benefit from cardio, and equally cardio gives us the fitness needed to contend with strength training.
If we increase our muscle mass our body will in turn burn more energy to maintain our physique, and will therefore increase our base metabolism. Larger, stronger muscles also allow women to be more resistant to tougher physical situations – such as climbing long flights of stairs or carrying heavy shopping bags – giving them the confidence to approach such tasks without fear of pain.
Additionally, strength training both during and after pregnancy is vital. Giving birth is one of the most serious challenges that the human body has to face, and strength training will give you the musculature to support you through this joyous moment. Then, after the baby is born, your body has the resources to recover quickly, get back in shape and support your new-born through those first few difficult months.
In conclusion – our body is with us through every moment of our lives. Keeping ourselves healthy is not only about cardio, flexibility and eating well, we also need a strong structure that co-exists with us and gives us a metabolic level of a healthy life.
So is strength training the answer? Most definitely for all women as part of a balanced and composed schedule of exercise.