Most Americans hate strength training. Case in point, while around half of everyone who works out does the recommended amount of aerobic activity each week, only 20% also do muscle-strengthening moves. And yet science has proven it’s incredibly beneficial; it helps protect our bones, works to prevent disease, and it seems to have special benefits for women.1
Strength and resistance training is about so much more than just bulking up. Yes, we need to build muscle, our bodies use our muscles ALL DAY but it’s also important because it is one of the few ways we make bones denser. “Lifting something heavy, like a dumbbell, makes bones bear more weight, and in exercise, stressing your bones is a good thing (to a point of course).”2 This is especially good for us women because as we age and lose minerals from our bones we are prone to osteoporosis (after menopause we lose estrogen, a hormone that protects our bones).
So, how else does it help?
- Compared with women who avoided strength training, those who did any amount of strength training were more likely to have a lower body mass index and a healthier diet and less likely to be a current smoker.
- They also had a Type 2 diabetes risk that was 30% lower and a cardiovascular disease risk 17% lower than those who did no strength training, even after the researchers controlled for variables like age, diet, and physical activity.
It can be intimidating to go back to the gym or even buy something like resistance bands. However, in order to grow healthful and graceful in our later years, we cannot ignore both cardio and strength training. And don’t worry, there’s an entire group of people here at Health Nut News who will cheer you on. You’ve got this. Bring it on 2018!