Women are constantly bombarded with messages on how to change their appearance by the fitness and diet industries with little to no regard to how it may impact their overall health long term. Fad diets, weight loss teas, dangerous supplements, and more are often promoted to achieve a “healthy lifestyle” over the proven basics of just implementing strength training, nutrition habits, and other self-care techniques that truly provide a great benefit to one’s health and quality of life. Fortunately, more and more health and fitness professionals who promote having a balanced lifestyle are frequenting our social media spaces today. This article will review the benefits of one aspect of a balanced lifestyle, strength training, and why every woman should incorporate it into her routine irrespective of aesthetics.
The most obvious non-aesthetic benefit of lifting weights is increased strength. Weight training is a very direct and specific way to increase your body’s muscle mass/strength and is one of the most rewarding parts of beginning a lifting program. Although it may be intimidating at first to make your way into the free weights area of a gym, with repeated practice and the right guidance from coaches, peers, and online sources, you’ll be increasing in strength, size, and confidence and improving your quality of life in no time.
Another phenomenal benefit gained from lifting weights is improved confidence. Many women feel a sense of accomplishment when getting stronger in their lifting program which leads to them transferring this feeling to other areas of their lives. The simple act of overcoming an obstacle or task that seems too heavy to conquer, like lifting a heavy weight, proves to women that anything can be accomplished with a little effort and consistency.
Lifting weights shifts focus from physical appearance to physical capabilities.
Getting feedback through increases in strength week-to-week is far more controllable than getting feedback through changes on the scale. The scale fluctuates sporadically and is influenced by daily changes in fluid loss and retention, food intake, and exercise activity. Tracking progress through strength gains is far more controllable and reliable than tracking progress through weight loss. Seeing these changes in strength throughout your lifting program will most certainly create a mindshift towards appreciating what you and your body are capable of and ultimately increases your self confidence.
Improved Health Markers
Lifting weights also improves many indicators of health such as: body composition, bone density (especially important for menopausal women suffering from osteoporosis), improved psychological health, improved libido, and improved sleep. All of these factors are incredibly important for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle without needing to focus on physical appearance. Improving your appearance is based on a very subjective marker of attractiveness and social norms whereas improving health markers is based on a more objective indication of quality of life, life expectancy, and overall health.
Increased Fitness for Daily Life
Lifting weights improves physical fitness by increasing stamina and strength. These fitness markers are especially important for daily activities that can be taken for granted in our youth. As we get older, it becomes more difficult to do simple tasks like taking the groceries out of the car or walking up a flight of stairs. As mundane and simple as these tasks may seem, not maintaining physical strength with age will ultimately make completing these tasks far more difficult than they should be. Implementing a fitness routine that incorporates all of the basic movement patterns of life (squatting, hinging, pulling, pushing, and carrying resistance) will ensure you keep your autonomy, safety, and physical health as you age.
Lifting weights can provide women with so many health benefits that have nothing to do with physical appearance. In my personal opinion, conversations about health and fitness should revolve mostly around increasing physical capabilities over physical appearance. Having aesthetic goals is not inherently bad or dangerous, however, focusing your attention on physical capabilities over physical appearance is far more sustainable and sets you up for fitness and health success for life.
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