Now everyone knows we love a HIIT workout. I mean, what’s not to love? They are short, they torch calories (even after the workout is done), they improve your fitness levels and can pretty much be done anywhere.
We can’t forget about resistance/strength training though. A good exercise plan will include cardio and resistance training. Cardio is great for burning fat but if you are looking to get a nice toned look, resistance training is also necessary.
Don’t worry ladies, you won’t get bulky or manly if you lift weights. Women’s bodies are built differently to men and biology won’t allow you to get huge muscles. Testosterone is the main hormone that builds muscle and men’s testosterone levels are approximately seven to eight times greater than women’s levels.
So, what is Resistance Training?
Resistance is any force that makes a movement harder. This force is usually thought of as weights in the gym, be they free weights or machine weights but they only form a small part of what can be used. You can use anything from water bottles to bricks, from rubber bands to kettlebells. Even your body can be used. Think about it, a force you deal with every day is gravity, so we can use our own bodyweight to produce the results we want.
Resistance training has so many benefits and we have listed a few below:
1. Helps with Weight Management
Lifting weights helps you build lean muscle tissue. Muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat so in turn burns more calories, even at rest. This is because muscle requires more blood and oxygen supply than fat, which means the body uses more energy.
2. Improves muscle strength and tone
When you lift weights on a regular basis, you become stronger so everyday chores get a little easier too, such as carrying groceries, housework, gardening, carrying the kids, etc. You can also build lean muscle so aesthetically you look leaner and more toned. Women who don’t exercise can lose anywhere from 3 to 8% of their muscle mass each decade as a result of inactivity.
3. Helps to protect your joints from injury
Strength training also strengthens your ligaments and tendons. This will help you continue to operate in peak condition and protect your body from injuries. Studies have shown that people with arthritis who lifted weights actually reduced their joint pain. By strengthening their muscles, they were able to cushion and protect the joints during impact activities such as walking.
4. Improves mobility, balance and posture
Exercise allows us to maintain muscle strength, coordination and balance which helps prevent falls and related fractures. This is particularly beneficial as we get older. As we age there is a decline in our motor ability. We get slower and less confident in our movements. Maintaining strength, mobility and balance will definitely increase our quality of life in later years.
5. Increases bone density which reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Strength training makes your bones stronger, which can help reduce or even manage osteoporosis. Resistance training puts bones under stress which makes them grow stronger and increase in density to withstand the extra load and force. As women age their oestrogen level decreases. Oestrogen helps with calcium production which means women’s calcium levels lower too. This is why bones can break easier when you age.
6. Helps in the performance of everyday tasks
The more mobility, flexibility, balance and strength you have, the easier your everyday life will be. This is especially true as we age.
So, have we convinced you to try out some resistance training? Remember, you are never too old to start. Our latest client is a 75 year old man who never exercised before. Start small with body weight exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges and tricep dips. Once you have mastered these, start to add weights such as kettlebells, dumbbells or resistance bands. If you are not comfortable with trying these at home, join a gym class or book in a session with a personal trainer or fitness instructor. Most gyms offer a free assessment when you join.
After reading the above you can now see how important resistance training is for your body. Exercise shouldn’t just be performed for aesthetic reasons. You shouldn’t exercise just to lose weight or to look good in a bikini (although if you are very overweight then it is better for your health to lose weight). Exercise shouldn’t be used as punishment for what you have eaten. You should exercise to feel good, feel happier, feel healthier, make every day activities easier, avoid stiffening of joints and to protect your future self from injuries and illnesses.
Don’t just set goals that are weight related as you may have lost fat and gained lean muscle. Maybe set some strength goals or workout goals or work on an exercise you couldn’t do before like a push up or pull up.
Now, who is off to pump some iron?
Ali & Ant