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Benefits Of Weight Training For Women

blonde woman lifting weights On this site I’ve written before about weight training for women and I talked about why women should incorporate weight lifting in their workout routine as a way to accelerare fat burning and improve body composition. I believe that one of the reasons why so many women have trouble with their weight is that they don’t do enough weight training.

The more I read about this topic the more convinced I become that women should lift weights, but not just for fat loss and fitness reasons. There are a variety of health benefits involved as well. It seems that for women, weight training is just as important for what goes on the inside of their body than it is for how it looks on the outside.

Let’s go over some of these benefits and see why women simply must do weight training workouts on a regular basis.

1. Weight Loss and maintenance

Whether your goal is to maintain your weight or to shed a few pounds, weight training is very effective. A number of studies done on women have shown this. For instance, a study published in 2010 [1], followed middle aged women for a period of 6 years. In that time, some of the women were assigned a workout routine which included regular weight lifting workouts. What was found at the end of the study was that those women who engaged in strength training workouts had a better change to preserve their weight and improve their body composition. It was also concluded that this is a long term benefit.

In a second study, the efficacy of strength training as a preventor of obesity in women was examined [2]. The study looked at 60 women of various ages. Some of the women were put on a workout routine with bi-weekly strength training sessions while the other women were not. At the end of the study, after 39 weeks, it was found that a bi-weekly strength training routine is sustainable for busy women and contributes to reduced weight and body fat.

2. Improves Bone Density

One health condition which is associated with aging in women is reduced bone density, or osteoporosis. This makes a woman prone to serious injury and fractures. 

Well, in addition to a healthy diet, research shows that weight training is one of the best things a woman can do to improve bone density. In a study done in the University of Lisbon [3], it was found that there is a link between bone density and the weight lifted in and the intensity of strength training sessions done by women in their middle years. The study examined a large number of women in their 40′s to 60′s. They all completed 3 strength training sessions each week.

In another study [4],  published in 2004, the effects of a workout routine which included weight training on postmenopausal women was examined. It was found that such a routine improves bone density, helps to preserve a normal body weight, and has other health benefits.

3. Menopause Related Benefits

middle aged woman lifting a dumbbell The period of menopause is a challenging time for all women. It is during this period that great hormonal changes occur within a woman’s body. These may lead to weight gain and other nasty effects. Let’s see how weight lifting workouts help women deal with the challenged of menopause:

In a study published by the Internation Journal of Sports Medicine [5], the overall effects of resistance training on menopausal women was examined. It is important to note that resistance training may also include bodyweight exercises, although it usually refers to weight lifting workouts.

This study found that resistance training has multiple benefits for women including stronger bone structure, healthier muscles, and less body fat.

In a second study, resistance training was found to drastically change the total body compostition in menopausal women by increasing lean tissue and reducing fatty tissue [6]. This was reinforced by another study, done at Syracuse University, which found that menopausal women who engage in weight bearing and lifting exercises show improvement in their body fat and lean tissue composition [7].

4. Additional Health Benefits

Among the more interesting studies I discoverd on the benefits of weight training for women is one done in Seoul, South Korea [8]. This study found that a combined exercise routine with aerobic and strength training workouts produces growth hormone and improves metabolic syndrome factors in women more than a cardiovascular workout routine does.

It was also shown that resistance training improves arterial health in pre-menopausal women and enhances the overall health profile of women.

In Conclusion

There’s no doubt that women need to do weight training for their health and for fat loss and fitness purposes. Any workout routine that you do will be made better by the inclusion of these exercises. If you want to preserve your weight, burn some fat, and maintain a good health, do weight training workouts 2 – 3 times a week at least.

If you’re looking for some fitness plans for women which make good use of weight lifting exercises check out Fit Yummy Mummy, John Barban’s Venus Index, or the Full Body licious fitness plan.

References:

1. Bea JW, Cussler EC, Going SB. Resistance training predicts 6-yr body composition change in postmenopausal women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jul;42(7):1286-95.

2. Schmitz KH, Jensen MD, Kugler KC. Strength training for obesity prevention in midlife women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Mar;27(3):326-33.

3. Cussler EC, Lohman TG, Going SB. Weight lifted in strength training predicts bone change in postmenopausal women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Jan;35(1):10-7.

4. Asikainen TM, Kukkonen-Harjula K, Miilunpalo S. Exercise for health for early postmenopausal women: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Sports Med. 2004;34(11):753-78.

5. Leite RD, Prestes J, Pereira GB. Menopause: highlighting the effects of resistance training. Int J Sports Med. 2010 Nov;31(11):761-7. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

6. Teixeira PJ, Going SB, Houtkooper LB. Resistance training in postmenopausal women with and without hormone therapy. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Apr;35(4):555-62.

7. Figueroa A, Going SB, Milliken LA. Effects of exercise training and hormone replacement therapy on lean and fat mass in postmenopausal women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003 Mar;58(3):266-70.

8. Seo DI, Jun TW, Park KS. 12 weeks of combined exercise is better than aerobic exercise for increasing growth hormone in middle-aged women. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Feb;20(1):21-6.

Date published: June 8, 2011. Last modified: June 6, 2011


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