Many women might say that lifting weights makes them look masculine and is only for men. When approaching some of my friends and I ask them about their weight loss journeys, they‘ll tell me about the cardio programs they're doing along with the nutritional things about their diet that they've changed.
At the mention of weight lifting, muscle building, or strength training, they’ll scrunch up their noses and nearly shut down. What they don’t know that strength training is important for a woman’s body, and not just one that wants to lose weight.
There are six benefits to gaining muscle. These benefit women by doing the following:
ONE: Improved Bone Density
Low bone density runs the risk of osteoporosis, even young. When women do strength training, that lowers the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.
Although women have a higher chance of this when over the age of 65, it is important to start strengthening those bones now when it’s easier.
Here are some statistics for you.
If that doesn’t change your mind about strength training, broken bones should! Estrogen in women protects bones, but this protection is reduced significantly when women reach menopause. This also creates a higher risk for osteoporosis.
TWO: Higher Metabolism
Have you ever heard you and your girlfriends talking about their metabolisms? How it’s harder for them because they have a low one, that they’ll never be able to eat bread or cookies like their athletic sons. Or maybe, they'll mention how a slow metabolism completely shots your health? First, let's define what a metabolism is.
Your metabolism is defined as "the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life." While high metabolisms make a person more energized, it doesn't necessarily mean that they will have an easier time losing weight.
People with higher metabolisms have trouble gaining weight and sustaining their it because they have to eat so much. If we’re one of the 1 in 3 Americans that are obese, it makes sense why we aren’t concerned with our alter egos that can’t gain weight!
There are some downsides to having a high metabolism. They may include
So why would you want a higher metabolism, then?
More fat means fewer calories burned when resting. To raise your metabolism, it’s important to eat the right foods, getting enough exercise, and get enough sleep to sustain it.
THREE: Improved Heart Health
It’s no secret what improved heart health can do for your body. Can we say lowered blood pressure, lower risk for type two diabetes? Here are some specific things physical exercise through weight lifting can do for a woman's body:
Have you ever felt better when you’ve gotten up earlier? How about when you’ve eaten something good for your body, or gotten a task done when you’ve put something off? Adding weight lifting to your exercise regimen has been shown to improve not only your mood but your confidence.
A study published in the June issue of JAMA Psychiatry attested to the benefit of improved depressive state on clinical trials affecting more than 1,800 people. It was found that people with mild to moderate depression who did resistance training two more days a week saw powerful reductions in their symptoms, compared with people who did not.
Imagine coupling this with a new regimen of getting up earlier, having more time in your day, and getting better sleep. You’ll be pretty much invisible.
If you’re still skeptical, you need to look at it like this: strength training isn’t a means just to get stronger, but also helps give the lifter a more meaningful mood boost.
The study showed that this was a result regardless of health status, the frequency of weight training, or whether the participant got stronger as a result of their workouts.
This is to say that no matter where you are-- weight loss, the maintaining weight, or weight gain gain, as a woman, you can benefit from lifting weights.
FIVE: Improved Sleep
When we exercise we may feel more energetic and ready for the day, but this helps us during the night so we can win down and go into a restless, deep sleep.
Sleep is something we all can benefit from. If not a few extra winks in the afternoon, more sleep at night will help your overall feelings during the day, lessen the feelings of restlessness and help you avoid your afternoon slump.
A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests cleaning up your sleep routine and practicing good sleep hygiene can be attributed through exercising.
We might think of hygiene is flossing before going to bed, but this goes much m deeper than that.
Good sleep hygiene means preparing a routine that you do every night before bed. this would include
Another study looked at the effects of exercise in treating sleep insomnia and also whether the effects changed based on late afternoon or morning exercise.
9 individuals were tested and studied, and the results showed that sleep latency went down and patients woke up earlier than their usual time. It was also shown that their quality of sleep significantly increased compared to past sleep cycles.
Late afternoon vs. morning exercise did not have a significant impact on the group. Also again, their quality of life and mood were shown to have increased as a result of the added exercise.
SIX: Improved Brain functioning
Ever find yourself forgetting things?
Recent studies have shown that proper exercise can help improve memory and cognitive function.
The group studied that did the weight training scored significantly higher than at the end vs. the beginning. They also retained the memory gain after the experiment for at least 12 months.
It was found that the participants that had the best scores were the ones that retained their strength. Only the scores for the groups who did stretching exercises declined the most.
What You Can Do
So what can you do so you can enjoy the benefits of getting stronger, getting better sleep, and overall living a healthier life? These are four simple weight exercises that can be performed by beginners that will help you start living out the benefits of strength training.
Exercise One: Chest Press
This upper body strength exercise will help you with daily activities such as pushing heavy doors or even shopping carts. It’s also helpful for sports such as swimming, tennis, and baseball.
Exercise Two: Lunges
Exercise Three: Lying chest fly
Exercise four: Reverse fly
There are several benefits to weight lifting. Not only will they it make you stronger and help you lose weight, but it can also improve your quality of life by aiding in the treatment of depression, improving sleep, and improving bone health.
How do you feel about strength training?
It may be easier to think about weight loss as an adult. We have all of these options, diets, and supplements.But what happens when we ‘re looking at weight loss options for our kids> Should it be just catered to them?
Not surprisingly, America is one of the world’s most obese countries. According to a 2018 study, 36.2% of America’s population is obese, and 13 million of our children are obese. This translates to 1 out of every 4 children is obese. Obesity can lead to several health problems and has after-effects on the body later on in life. In adolescents, children feed off of physical exercise, running, and gym class, so it is important that at this age if it can be controlled, the better.
Establishing a healthy eating regimen early on can not only heal help your child’s physical health but also self-esteem and mental health.
Is my child overweight?
With children, it can be harder to tell if a child is overweight or not. BMI isn’t always an accurate indicator of this, so to start it is good to check with your doctor. Because children are constantly growing and maturing, it is harder to tell if they are growing into their bodies or if the extra weight is attributing attributed to their eating factors. It has been proven that obesity is caused by taking more food than expending energy. Those cheap, high-calorie foods have less nutritional value and are based on high carb, sugars starches that when broken down that are burned off easily. This makes us go back for more right after. When added to extra time on tablets, phones, and the internet and less time playing outside, it is no wonder why our children are becoming more overweight. Schools are also cutting back on physical education programs have attributed to this. Genetics are shown to play a small part in obesity in children. Obesity is caused by the way we eat and calorie consumption vs. output.
Make it a family endeavor
Children may eat their lunches (and sometimes breakfasts) at school, but their dinners and afternoon snacks are coming from home, where they are learning their eating habits. Establishing good rules at home is the key to creating healthy habits that stick. Starting early avoids the “ew mom! I don’t eat that!” later on. Coupled with healthy eating habits, getting at least 60 minutes of exercise per day can dramatically increase a child’s risk for obesity later on in life.
Why Banning certain foods doesn’t work
Banning certain foods makes cravings come back stronger and aids the opportunity to binge eat, Instead of banning foods entirely, implementing healthy choices as an option allows allowing healthy foods along with known foods gives children the option and introduces them to those new foods.
The reason why families are having such a hard time when it comes to weight loss attributes to our environments and foods available. We see other people eating fast food, junk food, and anything else we may want, but we don’t not the effects until we can no longer fit our clothes. A study from by JA Snethen suggests that there is no one direct way to prevent obesity over others. As a result, weight loss may become even more confusing because we have to use a culmination of methods to help our children lose weight.
The “Adding To” method
It is important to add options to the already established diet. Remember that small changes over time are easier than one big cold turkey approach. Not only will it be hard for you to adjust to (cooking, learning new recipes, learning a new way for you to eat yourself) it can also be overwhelming for your children. When adding new foods, fruits, vegetables, and proteins, thinking about the benefits it will give and not just how hard it may be at first.
While there is no “one size fits all” approach to weight loss, it is our responsibility to make sure we establish healthy eating habits. Weight gain can lead to detrimental health effects such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. What do you find so hard about maintaining healthy eating habits?
“Childhood Obesity and Weight Problems.” HelpGuide.org, 19 June 2019, www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/childhood-obesity-and-weight-problems.htm.
Dillinger, Jessica. “The Most Obese Countries In The World.” WorldAtlas, 2 Nov. 2015, www.worldatlas.com/articles/29-most-obese-countries-in-the-world.html.
Snethen, JA. “Effective Weight Loss for Overweight Children: a Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies.” Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-Assessed Reviews [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK73275/.
There has been a recent debate of whether the keto diet is effective for the body when congruent to weight loss. There is a study composed by Tomas Dostal that reports the effects of the keto diet on 30 healthy participants ages 18-30. They were given the keto diet to follow based on their BMI, height, and weight and were screened as healthy individuals with no physical impairments or additives such as dietary supplements to hinder the results of the experiment. These participants also participated in 3 days per week of HIIT exercise to study the effect of the keto diet on the body when sustaining a regular exercise regimen.
What is HIIT
High-intensity interval exercise includes a more than average rate of speed and power than associated with moderate exercise. This power for regular athletes allows them to maintain long periods of exercise above 905 VO2max. HIIT varies depending on the BMI of the participate in, height, and gender. During this study, a 12-30minute intermittent Fitness test was given to assess what hitt performance meant for each individual. Resting heart rate was also evaluated to help better assess what that Hiit training was for the individual.
What is Keto:
The Keto diet consists of lowering the number of carbs to get calories from proteins and fats. Most of the carbs cut back on are in junk foods such as sweets, cakes, pizza, and pop. During a Keto diet, a participant may eat 50g of carbohydrates per day, which will ideally send the body into ketosis and cause the participant to lose weight. During the keto diet, there is an increased amount of fats, and proteins, thus boosting energy levels. This is also used for the hopeful benefit of reverse lowering the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Keto is also looked as a method of helping sports performance. Furthermore, Keto is hopefully used as an asset to HIIT exercise.
24 patients were given a regular diet. During this study, the participants completed 12 weeks of diet and exercise or exercise only. The participants were studied at 4, 8, and 12-week intervals a d a HIIT test was given once a week. The participants exercised daily. The study found that the diet given did not affect the HIIT exercise or the exercise that lasted up to 125 minutes. It did not impair cardio performance nor the nervous system.
During this study, six healthy and physically active men had reduced time to exhaustion when participating in the keto diet and a higher rate of oxygen consumption. In well-trained men, during a six-week moderate protein and high-fat diet, there was a lower mean but a peak of power during exercise. After four weeks on the diets, it was found that individuals could perform a high HITT interval training with a similar instance the to the two other men, trained and not.
According to both of these, HIIT training is effective as a form of exercise and increasing cardiorespiratory and metabolic performance.
These participants were 30 healthy and moderately trained individuals. They were between 18 and 35, nonsmokers, and had already performed regular exercise although didn’t have specific sports training and participated in less than 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise three times per week before the KETO diet was implemented. All of the participants didn’t have any known impairments such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, musculoskeletal impairment, nor had taken any supplements during the experiment. Participants were split into two types of groups, a low carbohydrate high fat diet or a control group. No alcoholic beverages or dietary supplements were allowed during this experiment.
Participants ate a restricted carb consumption to no more than 50 grams per day. Protein and fat were consumed at no specific surplus to the patient, with the only instruction were to increase fat intake to compensate with energy loss caused by lessened carbohydrates. Progress was tracked using a dietary analysis app. And a blood sample was taken to measure compliance with the dietary regimen.
Specific exercise regimen included 3-5 training sessions each week. One was a HIIT session and tone to three were home-based and includes activities such as running, cycling, and sports games. All were monitored with a heart monitor. Each session of Hiit lasted up to 40 minutes and began with a 4-minute warmup. Each workout was completed in sets with an induced recovery. Before the implementation of the experiment, participants went under a laboratory surveillance and treatment to measure what the maximum HIIT was for that participant. running speed began at 7.0 km per hour and was increased by 1.5km every 4 minutes to analyze exhaustion.
As a result of this experiment, it was found that energy and macronutrients were similar in both groups before the experiment started. Macronutrient levels were not changed in the control had group during this intervention period. The total number did decrease but the HD group there weren’t any noticeable group differences in total energy intake during the study period. Lipid intake, as well as CHO intake, was increased, and there were changes in body weight. It was also found during the duration of the diet, the cardiac performance was leveled after longer-term participation in the keto diets.
Dostal, et al., “Effects of a 12-Week Very-Low Carbohydrate High-Fat Diet on Maximal Aerobic
Capacity, High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise, and Cardiac Autonomic Regulation: Non-Randomized Parallel-Group Study.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 3 July 2019, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.00912/full.
“Keto Diet: What Is a Ketogenic Diet?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-ketogenic-diet.