I’m no militant trainer or boot camp style instructor. In fact, my heart and much of my personal workout time resides mindfully on my yoga mat. Yeah, I enjoy working hard and rocking a good sweaty exercise routine! But, you won’t find me raising my voice or sending my clients to the mat for pushups when they really feel more like a push over.
What I want is to encourage you! To empower you to use that beautiful body God gave you!
I know what movement does for me and it’s so much more than what you can see. I’m not in it for the aesthetics anymore. Exercise is a sanity saver, a part of a peace-routine for my soul before the day saturates it with stress and a way to invigorate my mind and body when keeping up with the kids seems impossible.
My desired results require me to move…regularly and consistently. Sometimes that means on my mat, other times outside or even working myself out while wearing my mommy hat (yeah, dance parties and playtime at the park make for some of my best sessions!).
But another mode of movement I hope you’ll consider is working with weights. No need for a gym membership or expensive equipment. A few dumbbells or bands will do. Even your own bodyweight can serve as your weighted resistance.
Why resistance? Because, in addition to the numerous health benefits to your body, weight training works wonders for women. Here are seven reasons I hope inspire you to strength train:
- Confidence. Are you surprised this is first on my list? It’s not all about the aesthetics! When your body feels strong and you’ve taken the time to flex your muscles, your mind will respond and you’ll stand up straighter (literally and figuratively). It feels good to feel capable!
- Boost your Metabolism. If you add muscle to your body (even just a little bit), your body becomes a better calorie burner. That means even at rest you’ll use more calories. So, whether your health requires you to lose a little weight (the unhealthy kind) or you want to maintain your weight as you age (and we all are!), strength training really is a must.
- Gain Independence. I’ve been a single mom for almost four years and before that I was a caregiver for two small girls and my late husband. Physical labor is part of my position here at home. While I need to call for help from time to time, I love the feeling of being able to accomplish certain jobs without too much trouble or injury. Maybe you’re not alone at home, but you’ll still feel strength in your physical independence
- Bone Density and Muscle Mass. We are ALL subject to the natural effects of aging. And, ladies, we WILL lose bone density and muscle if we do nothing to prevent it. That means more injuries, brittle bones and less strength and balance as the years go on. UNLESS, we strength train. Stimulating your muscles with resistance (weights, bands, bodyweight) not only builds muscle strength and tone but it also improves bone density. When your muscles ‘tug’ on the bones, they respond by building themselves up! Just thank God for that little physical feature designed to keep you young!
5. Move your MOOD. So, this is my most tangible and acute after-effect of strength training. I love the way my mind and mood respond even more than how my muscles do. Women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men are. So, let’s stop this trend! Strength training boosts endorphins, serotonin and dopamine—all brain chemicals that improve mood. But on top of that, regular resistance training improves sleep patterns and feelings of accomplishment. Just saying…
6. Save your Knees. Do you have knee pain? Well, women have a wider pelvis area than men do, meaning we are up to ten times more likely to experience knee injuries because of the angle our lower body bones join up. Strength training greatly reduces that risk…and living pain-free, well, that’s really a quality of life thing, don’t you think?
7. A Pretty (and more comfortable) Posture. After mentioning lower body strength, I thought it a good idea to balance our bodies out by bringing upper back strength to your attention. Everything we do in modern life happens in front of us—driving, typing, texting, cooking, carrying, etc. So, our back muscles begin to stretch and, over time, hunch (called kyphosis). Proper upper body strengthening prevents the hunch which, in turn, improves posture, reduces headaches and avoids injuries.
While I know some of you want to hear what I won’t say…your motivation to attain the appearance strength training provides is probably the most popular reason women keep up with resistance training. But, won’t you please, view aesthetics as the icing on the cake (the gluten-free, real-food cake!). Feeling better and caring for your already beautiful body will keep you in the routine far longer than gripping the idea of a girlie figure. I promise…I learned it the hard way.
So there, you have it. No need to argue or fuss! Just start perusing the workouts and choose a couple to begin with. Wherever you are today in strength, weight or willingness, here I am encouraging you, really urging you to muster up the energy to move more!