If you’re reading this it is likely you are one of the 1000s of women who think lifting heavy weights will make you bulky, and that’s not your fault. Blame the media!
Here’s why lifting weights is good for women (and won’t make you bulk up):
Reason #1 Female bodybuilders don’t look that way by mistake, it takes a lot of planning and preparation. It requires years of dedication and consistency, as well as a massive amount of food (and in some cases performance enhancing drugs). You won’t look like you’re about to step on stage after training with weights for a year.
Reason #2 You train for the results you want. If you’re looking to be an elite bodybuilder you’ll be training for 2 hours 6 times a week, whilst eating a calorie surplus. If you’re just looking to improve the shape and size of your body you’ll combine weight training 2-3 times a week with a healthy diet and a small amount of cardio.
Reason #3 You won’t wake up tomorrow with muscles like Kai Green. It takes months to see massive changes in the size of your muscles, so you’d decrease training volume if you ever did decide for example, that your biceps are too big.
Reason #4 You’ll burn more calories when you start weight training, therefore increasing your metabolism making it easier to get yourself into a calorie deficit- and therefore lose fat. Let’s face it- who wouldn’t want to swap jiggly fat for lean muscle.
So put down those 5lb dumbells and start deadlifting. You won’t regret it.
Here’s some reasons why:
Reason #1 You’ll feel more confident in a swim suit. Weights and a solid nutritional plan are the key to a lean, toned physique.
Reason #2 You’ll burn more calories 24/7 thanks to an increased metabolism.
Reason #3 You’ll fit into those skinny jeans again as muscle is denser that fat.
Reason #4 You’ll lose your bingo wings (if this isn’t a good enough reason I don’t know what is).
Reason #5 You’ll strengthen your bones, reducing your chance of osteoporosis related fractures.
Example weight training workout for women:
High Blood Pressure?
If you have high blood pressure it is crucial you control it to avoid being one of the 62,000 unnecessary deaths per year from poor blood pressure control in the UK.
Here are some steps you can take to decrease your blood pressure:
1) Increase the amount of aerobic exercise you do e.g. brisk walking, jogging and cycling. Exercising for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times per week reduces systolic and siastolic blood pressure by 2 to 3mmHg on average (Duncan et al, 1985) and (Blumenthal, Siegel and Appelbaum, 1991).
2) Follow a lower calorie diet if you are overweight. Healthy diets that are lower in calories tend to have a modest effect on blood pressure reduction in overweight people with high blood pressure, averaging 5 to 6 mmHg in trials (Jalkanen, 1991).
3) Reduce alcohol consumption. Over 21 units per week for men and 14 for women is associated with raised blood pressure (Hart, 1999). However, it appears that moderate alcohol consumption has little effect on blood pressure.
4) Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffiene can increase blood pressure by 5-15mmHg systolic and 5-10mmHg diastolic for several hours after consumption (Rosmarin, 1989).
5) Quit or reduce smoking to decrease blood pressure. Peto et al (2000) found a strong link between smoking and cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease.
6) Decrease the amount of salt in your diet. Consuming less than 6g per day has been shown to decrease blood pressure by 2-3mmHg in those with hypertension, by up to one year. However, reductions in blood pressure do tend to reduce over time (Hooper et al, 2002).
7) Reducing stress has shown to have a significant role in decreasing blood pressure, reducing it by 3-4mmHG (Canino et al, 2000) and (Agras et al, 1987).
The benefits of exercise for people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are numerous and include; reduced joint pain & stiffness, improved mobility & flexibility, reduce deconditioning of the muscles (muscle wastage) and maintained independence.
Here are seven tips for you to bear in mind when exercising to receive the above benefits:
1) Avoid excessive repetition of the same joint actions e.g. prolonged one legged stances or stop start activities like field sports.
2) Avoid over stretching joints, although stretching is great when done properly!
3) Reduce the load immediately when pain or swelling occurs whilst exercising.
4) Wear appropriate footwear to maximise shock absorption during weight bearing activities.
5)Avoid exercises that require you to be in one position for a long period of time e.g. kneeling exercises, or exercises on all fours.
6) Avoid fast direction changes for example those during a shuttle run.
7) Exercise in the late morning or early afternoon as joints should be less stiff.
8) Chair based exercises work well if you are less mobile, or unable to stand for long periods of time.
For sufferers if rheumatoid arthritis you should never exercise during flare up phases as this can cause further damage to the structure of your joints. During remission phases you are best to spend your time strengthening the muscles around the joints through full range of movement.
If you suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, COPD, asthma etc. I am working on building a GP referral scheme so you can train with someone who has good knowledge of your medical requirements during exercise, please contact me for more details.
Laura Ciotte is a personal trainer and tutor/assessor for trainee personal trainers. She is based in Worthing, West Sussex and likes travelling, motorbikes and good food.
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