A few days ago I was reading through my news feed when I stumbled on this article by Sarah Chamberlain from The Guardian: “Lift Your Way to Strength – and Help Your Body Stay Young” The title caught my eye, so I figured I’d skim it quickly to see what it was about. “But strength is not just about appearances. It is a requirement for everyday life.” This quote is what should be the motivation for picking up weights at the gym, and not just spending time on the hamster wheel. Sure cardio is great, but don’t skip out on your strength training. Strength truly is beneficial for being able to more easily perform tasks in everyday life.
Something that I have heard frequently is that some women are afraid to lift heavy weights for fear of becoming “bulky”. To those of you who have this fear: You won’t become bulky. Bulk is about having the right amount of the right hormones and a large enough quantity of calories to support being “bulky”. Women don’t naturally have the right amount of hormones to become bulky, and, if nutrition is keyed in you won’t need to worry about the calories either. The great thing about adding muscle tissue to your frame is that muscle is metabolically active. This means it burns calories. So, adding more muscle burns more calories while we are at rest. Isn’t that what we’re all going for, anyways? Burn more calories while we’re just sitting?
Going back to the article, Chamberlain references loss of muscle mass and loss of bone density (osteoporosis). Participating in regular strength training activities helps to slow down this process. We can’t totally stop the decline in this tissue loss, but we can severely slow it by staying active and lifting weights on a regular basis. What does this mean for you? This means being able to climb the stairs with ease. It means being able to play with the grandkids one day. Balance and stability is improved with increased strength, meaning less worrying about falls as we age. So, go ahead and pick up some heavy weights. Your future self will thank you when you’re still able to enjoy the things you were able to when you were younger.