Do you shy away from the weights room at the gym?
Ever wondered how to use the odd looking equipment in the park?
Or maybe you’ve noticed a growing trend in women lifting weights in the gym or doing body weight training out in the park.
Whatever your level of knowledge or experience, it’s important to include weight training (or resistance training, muscle strengthening, pumping iron etc) into your weekly workout routine.
Strengthening your muscles has many health benefits and the inclusion of muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week for adults in the Australian national guidelines. This is as a result of emerging scientific evidence that strength training may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressures, weight gain, disability, heart disease and poor muscuskeletal and mental health.
Regularly incorporating strength work into your routine will improve or maintain the strength, size, power and endurance of your muscles.
As we age, our muscle mass decreases. So what? you say.
1 – muscles control your metabolism i.e. more muscle = higher metabolism = weight control
2 – good muscle tone makes you age better
3 – untrained muscles turn flabby…
4 – muscle maintain physical functioning which can prevent frailty and risk of falls as we age
5 – resistance training helps maintain bone density – i.e. helps fight osteoporosis
SO, it’s vital to incorporate weight lifting into your routine.
Do you have an image of a muscle-bound body builder posing in front of the mirrors in the gym?
No need – muscle strengthening activities are varied and can include:
– weight machines in the gym
– exercise bands
– hand held weights (think dumbbells and barbells)
– body weight (push ups, sit ups, tricep dips etc)
Compared to aerobic physical activity such as walking and cycling, weight training has greater benefits for bone/joint health, the ability to perform activities of daily living (general mobility, getting into and out of a chair, bathing, dressing) and slowing the loss of skeletal muscle mass/strength. These outcomes are very important for all age groups, especially for older adults as we seek ways to maintain their independence.
If you are currently doing no muscle strengthening activity, even small increases are likely to have health benefits. Start with body weight exercises like squats, sit-ups, or push-ups at home; do household chores that involve digging, carrying, or lifting.
to avoid injury – find a trainer or join a class where someone qualified can check your technique and help you get the most out of your workout.
As women we are constantly reminded to check our breasts and get pap tests done but noone talks about bone density. Osteoporosis is overlooked and under-diagnosed compared to other chronic diseases.
In Australia about 1.2 million people are affected by Osteoporosis – a disease that makes bones brittle which increases the risk of breakages. Another 6.3million are thought to have low bone density.
Risk factors include chemotherapy treatment, menopause (due to the rapid decrease in oestrogen levels), lack of resistance exercise, poor diet (lack of vitamin D, calcium, excessive smoking and drinking).
How to prevent osteoporosis?
By making some lifestyle changes you can improve your bone health. Three key factors for bone health are calcium, vitamin D and exercise. Regular calcium rich foods in your diet, some sun exposure and weight bearing (resistance) and high intensity resistance exercise.
Ladies – we are not designed to bulk up – weight training will leave you toned and lean, not pumped up with bulging veins. So come on, give it a go!
Call me on 0403 335 950 if you’d like to incorporate resistance training into your routine.
Our outdoor group classes are fun, supportive and incorporate plenty of resistance training.
Check out my timetable and come join us
PS you’re only one workout away from a good mood