When you hear the words 'weight training', what springs to mind? Is it images of muscular bodybuilding men? Maybe it conjures up thoughts of the part of the gym you tend to assume isn't for you. Well, classfinder want to dispel some of the myths around weight training for women, because misinformation and misconceptions could be holding you back from being the healthiest version of yourself.
According to the research, only 24% of women were meeting the government's muscle-strengthening guidelines. The NHS recommends that you undertake strengthening activities on at least 2 days per week, concentrating on all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) as part of your 150 minutes of exercise a week.
Benefits of weight training for women
Now you know how much you should be doing; the question may be why?
You will gain strength, not bulk – one of the common misconceptions about weight training is that you will end up looking bulky muscles. Women have far less testosterone than men, in some cases as little as 10% so strength training will instead tone and define your muscles, which is far more desirable.
Decrease your risk of Osteoporosis – women are most at risk of Osteoporosis. From the age of 35, you start to lose bone density; this happens to everyone but women are at higher risk of this happening more rapidly due to hormone changes that coincide with menopause. Strength training will help to counteract this and keep your bone density as high as it can be.
Enhance your mood – as with all types of exercise, the release of endorphins can improve your mood, prevent pain, and help reduce depression. Couple that with the increase in confidence you can find when you master something new!
Helps to maintain a healthy weight – weight training helps you build lean muscle. Carbohydrates and body fat are burned when strength training o be used as energy.
Reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes – strength training can help improve your cardiovascular health by increasing good cholesterol and therefore lowering blood pressure.
Improve your posture – it is easy for our posture to become less than perfect as more of us spend time seated during working hours or slouched over our phones! But strength training helps to build a strong core and can help correct bad posture.
You don’t need to splash out on expensive equipment if you want to give strength training a try. As well as endless ways to use your body weight during exercise, there are plenty of ways to utilise objects around your home to safely exercise.
Tin cans – who doesn’t have a couple of tins of soup/beans/peaches/[insert your preferred foodstuffs here]? Cans are a great substitution for dumbbells as they are equally weighted so are closer to the actual feel of a dumbbell. Try checking the weight on the label and converting it to kilograms
Bags of rice – uncooked rice is a cupboard staple but even if you don’t have any you should stop up as it has such a long shelf life.
Bottles of water – when exercising you are likely to have a bottle of water with you. Well, a 1 litre bottle of water will weigh around 1kg. So why not use your water bottle as a weight as well as a hydration tool.
Pots and pans – during lockdown our pots and pans have had to work extra hard as, more than ever, our meals were consumed at home. But they can also help you train at home.
Bottles of wine – just don’t drop them! You can use those bottles of wine, not just as motivation to do your workout but also as weights.
Not sure where to start?
It can be daunting to start something new and with new COVID-19 restrictions in gyms, it could be doubly intimidating to start weight training if when you are allowed back into the gym environment. So, we suggest you start by taking an online class. You can use our class search to find virtual sessions such as HIIT, body sculpt, and circuits. Having a qualified instructor lead you through the best (and safest) way to use weight training will help you build confidence and also connect you to an online community that is all doing the same, so you aren’t alone.
Classes like Pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi are also great alternatives to traditional strength training. All use your own body weight to strengthen muscle. Find virtual classes that fit into your day now.