Let’s chat about weight training and its beautiful benefits.
It seems like a no-brainer to me in this day and age, but I still see women that don’t do it. Some feel intimidated, or believe it will take too much time and they would rather work on cardio. Others can’t get to the gym because of kids, work, etc…. And lastly, there are still some left over beliefs that if you lift, you will suddenly look like Arnold Schwarzenegger (which I promise, you will not).
In hoping to change a few minds out there, and show you how easy it is to add a little lifting to your day, let’s look at some (pretty major) body/mind benefits.
It can delay the aging process in the body.
I’m totally getting sidetracked, so let’s look at other reasons:
Improved sleep quality.
Increased bone density.
Balance and coordination is improved, and so is your posture.
Reduces depression and anxiety symptoms (throw your fist in the air and yell “YES” (because we all have those days, weeks, hmmmm… months?)
In older adults, it can improve a number of cognitive factors, most notably: Memory
Reduces stress. We all need that.
Leads to greater feelings of empowerment and self-esteem.
Increases your metabolic rate, which will allow your body to burn more calories throughout your day (WooHoo!)
There are more benefits… but this list is long enough, and I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ll stop here.
I hope I’ve piqued your interest with the “whys” of lifting weights, let’s chat about the “hows” and “wheres”.
While some people lift and train purely to enhance their physique, I’m telling you to train for your health.
Repeat after me. For. Your. Health.
This is preventative medicine people! I want you to think of it as the proverbial- an apple a day…. kind of thing.
Since this article is for women, I want to tackle one issue before we move on.
Every body is different and how you wear muscle (bulk) will be different than how your neighbor wears muscle. I realize some women worry about getting too big and muscle-y. Yes, I see you waving your hands in the air, Aunt Sally. While I personally think strong, muscled arms and legs are super sexy on women, there are some who just want tone and not a lot of definition. In their fear of looking too masculine, they choose to stick to cardio programs. Rest assured, in order to create the look of a female body builder, you would need to spend hours a day in the gym. Put your worries aside. You must keep yourself strong to live to a healthy existence, no matter your age.
This discussion is really not about whether you should be lifting weights — of course you should!
It is about finding a way that works for you, motivates you and gives you the most joy.. Yes, I said joy! It really can bring you a joyful, jubilant feeling. But only if you keep searching for a way to do it that makes you happy. Don’t just keep repeating the same old thing because you don’t know what else to do. There’s no motivation in that. This is a life long journey. To keep your body in its best health you need to find something that motivates you for life or at the very least, something to like until you get bored and need to find some new form of training to move onto.
How do you find the perfect format that will make you happy and keep you going back for more?
Maybe it’s awesome music. Or the exhilaration of group classes. Could it be the accountability of one on one, or do you have a need to be outdoors? Perhaps you only have 15 minutes while your infant is napping. Whatever you need, there is a way to make it possible.
Once you’ve got your inner motivation list, it’s time to look at your lifestyle and time commitments. Can you fit in a few classes at the gym per week or do you only have 15 minutes a day at home. Either way- you can make this work! There are a ton of options in the world and I’m just offering you a small sampling. If you don’t see what you want here… keep looking. Don’t give up, get creative! The two women pictured above with their adorable little ones were getting in a little weight lifting after class one day. They brought their babies with them! I was so inspired, and they graciously allowed me to take a photo of them. Where there is a will, there is a way, ladies! You can find the time.
By now, you’ve made your list about what motivates you and how much time you have. Great! Figure out what fits that list. Let’s say you were motivated by music and group classes- How about checking out Zumba Toning (Zumba with weights) or Les Mills BodyPump. Both offer lifting weights to great music.
Maybe being outdoors was more what you were looking for- Check youtube for “playground workouts”. You can “play” and workout on the equipment while the kiddos are playing at the park with friends. Be sure to find a reputable trainer on youtube though. I want you to be safe.
Then of course, there are Boot Camp style classes offered at all gyms. Or consider alternative classes like Barre (which of course, I’m very partial to).
Find a personal trainer if you need the accountability that one-on-one training provides.
If time is really lacking (or you are super intimidated by the thought of doing it in a group setting) I suggest either buying a home DVD to workout with or search YouTube for reputable trainers online. You can find my You Tube page here with short tutorials.
Weights are not that expensive depending on the size you are buying, and you don’t have to go far to find them. Fred Meyer, Target, etc., will have many styles to choose from. Check thrift stores or garage sales for even more value.
You don’t need to devote a ton of time to weight training (unless you want to, of course). 15 minutes, 2 or 3 days a week is a nice easy way to start, and you’d be surprised at the difference you will notice in 4 weeks. You might even be surprised to find that you like it. That feeling you get when you realize that maybe you need to grab a heavier weight because this one seems just too light now, is quite satisfying!
You can do this!! Now is the time to start making some changes that will make you feel better, look better, relieve anxiety/depression, and even give you more confidence. It’s a small step toward a healthier, happier existence. And that’s worth every bit of your effort..