Perhaps because of its association with ripped bodybuilders and other male-dominated arenas, weightlifting has yet to fully catch on as a form of women’s exercise. Only 21 percent of women participate in strength training, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Despite its relative lack of popularity, however, weightlifting is actually highly beneficial for women’s health.
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Build Muscle Mass
The most obvious benefit of weightlifting is that it allows women to increase their muscle mass. In older women, this increase can help to offset the decline in muscle mass that occurs as women age. Women of all ages, however, enjoy several additional benefits as a result of building muscle mass.
Improve Everyday Performance
Greater muscle mass can make it easier to complete your everyday activities. As you might expect, muscles play a role in many of the tasks that we do every day, such as climbing stairs, carrying a child, or completing housework. Building muscle through weight lifting will make it easier to go about your day to day life.
Maintain or Lose Weight
The improved muscle mass that you gain through weightlifting can also help women achieve or maintain a healthy weight. According to the CDC, muscle burns a lot more energy than fat, so increasing your muscle mass will also allow your body to burn more calories throughout the day. Weightlifting will also give your new slimmer body a firmer appearance, since weightlifting sheds fat tissues while toning muscle tissues.
Build Strong Bones
Weightlifting can also help women build and maintain strong bones, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Weightlifting during the teen and young adult years helps women’s bones reach peak bone density. Weightlifting by older women can help prevent the losses in bone density that occur as women age.
Reduce Symptoms of Disease
Weightlifting among older women is effective in reducing the symptoms of certain diseases. Strength training has been shown to reduce pain and other symptoms associated with arthritis and can help diabetics better control their blood glucose levels. Strength training has also been shown to be beneficial for women suffering from depression.
Protect Against Injury
Weightlifting improves your balance and builds muscles that help protect your joints, both of which will help protect you from injury. Particularly among older women, preventing injuries helps ensure that you can maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle as you age.