Have you picked up a dumbbell lately? What are your thoughts about weight training? If you are like most women, you have some fear of bulking up or getting too big if you lift weights. As a result, you might put in some time to do some cardio, but you neglect any exercises involving weights. Well, I’m here to tell you that as women and moms, there couldn’t be a better time to pick up a dumbbell and add weight training to your to-do list.
Like it or not, as we age and our bodies go through all the wonderful things they do, gravity takes its toll. When gravity takes over, you start to see sagging of the skin and areas of the body waving back at you that you don’t want to be waving at all! One of the best ways to help with that sagging skin and those extra pounds is weight training. In the remainder of this article, I will give you some reasons why weight training can greatly benefit you.
It’s a fact, the more muscle tone you have, the more calories you burn-even when you are sitting. Doesn’t that sound great? Even while you are sitting enjoying that morning cup of coffee, you can be burning extra calories! What that means is that you have to have some muscle! Lifting light weight, but doing several repetitions of weight training exercises are the best way for women to build muscle tone, but not mass. By building this muscle tone, it will also help you shed more fat during your cardio workouts than you would without lifting the weights. Imagine burning more calories and fat by walking on the treadmill, just because you have a little muscle tone and definition.
Another great benefit of weight training is that it helps you gain flexibility. Jim O’Neill, writer for healthguidance.org states, “By doing weight training exercises through a full range of motion your muscles are put into a stretch with each repetition and by strengthening them, they are less prone to injury.” This is very important not only as we age, but also just for day to day living and moving around. With weight training, you strengthen muscles that are used to lift, pull, push, etc. so that you are less likely to pull a muscle or injure yourself while doing things like lifting your children, pulling a wagon, or even something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning. The torso area of our bodies (stomach, lower back) is one of the most important areas of our body and is also often the most neglected. Strength training with weights works the torso, otherwise known in exercise circles as your core. Core strength exercises are especially designed to work these muscles in your abdomen and your lower back. Those muscles help support your entire posture as well as your internal organs, so they are very important. After having babies and compromising our torsos by carrying the weight of a baby, as women we have to work extra hard on our core to gain back or rebuild that strength and flexibility. Weight training can also be very therapeutic and can help alleviate day to day stress. As with any exercise, endorphins (chemicals naturally produced in the body) are released and your body can feel a natural high or a sense of well-being.
Scott Olson, author of Depression and Exercise, posted on mentalhelp.net, states, “Numerous studies involving human beings have shown that a variety of exercises, such as weight training and aerobic exercise (exercise where you breathe hard and your heart beats faster) can improve mood. In some studies, regular and sustained exercise was found to be as effective as (and sometimes more effective than) psychotherapy and standard medications for treating certain individuals with symptoms of depression.” Weight training and aerobic exercise are a great way to lift your spirits and get you out of any funk that you may be in. Grab some weights, jump on the treadmill or even go for a walk outside and get those endorphins flowing!
Finally, weight training can be a fun activity to do with a friend. Sometimes it can be intimidating for women to walk into a gym by themselves, let alone try to do some weight training exercises with a bunch of big burly guys standing around looking at them. By taking a friend with you and setting up a weight training program that you can do together, you get to enjoy spending time together while getting in better shape. You can also purchase some weights for yourself and do the exercises together at one of your houses. Having a work out buddy can help motivate, encourage and inspire you to become fit and healthy!
There are so many reasons to start an exercise program today, especially one that involves weight training. Your overall health will improve, you will experience weight loss, increased energy and flexibility and the building of muscle tone and definition. Don’t be shy or intimidated, pick up some weights today…..it just may give you that caffeine fix or stress release you need to make it through the day!
Kathy Irwin, the mother of two boys, Jake (4) and Luke (1), was born and raised in Southern California. She and her husband moved to Round Rock 3 years ago and couldn’t be happier here. They own and operate Spice of Life Texas, an event production company that specializes in producing Health & Lifestyle Expos for large corporations. She also teaches boot camp classes at FIT Boot Camp. She loves spending time with her boys; one of the most important things to her as she gets older is to have enough energy to keep up with them. Kathy was raised in a very active, athletic family and grew up playing many sports. Today, she still enjoys running, hiking, swimming, biking and working out with weights. Being active and staying healthy and in shape makes her feel great. One of her passions is helping others achieve their personal health & fitness goals.