Until about five years ago, women shied away from using weights at the gym. And those who did use them were seen through a mist of ill-founded myths. However, today we see a good number of women at the weight stations in gyms. Studies on women doing weight-bearing exercises have reported the following benefits:
1. Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence - The American Cancer Society, in a January 2007 report, stated that weight-bearing exercises were encouraged in post-treatment phase of patients. A study of 3000 survivors in the Nurse’s Health Study showed that those who increased their level of activity to include fitness, and especially weights, reduced the risk of cancer recurrence by almost 40 percent.
2. Increases Body Strength - This is obvious, but not in the way it is for men. Due to the presence of female hormones, women do not develop the bulging muscles you see in men unless they are on artificial proteins, steroids etc. However, they add tone, condition and definition to their body muscles. They are more able to pick up a child, lift heavy groceries or move office equipment themselves with added efficiency and without help.
3. Improves Posture and Balance - As you train more regularly with weights, you will notice better overall coordination and better motor ability of the joint and muscle systems. This will enhance your balance as well as posture while performing everyday activities. This is especially important as women age and lose muscle mass and steadiness.
4. Increases Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - Our muscles use approximately 25 percent of our total energy requirement at the state of rest. Building muscle mass is good value. It directly leads to higher BMR. Thus, if you weight train regularly and develop even mild muscle mass, you will actually burn more calories even at the state of rest.
5. Reduces Body Fat - Though aerobic activities increase aerobic capacity, condition the heart and other muscles, anaerobic training like weight lifting helps burn more calories. No weight loss program is complete without strength training. It is a quick, tested and effective way of burning fat.