Why Women Should Strength Train

So I’ve been camping on this idea for awhile now and after a particularly strong and energetic week I decided to get it out, dust it off, and talk about it.

Between physical therapy and those single leg presses ( do you hurt after doing them? they ask.. all 30 reps….Me…nooo.) ok then add ten more, 40 reps per side with your 165lb weight.

I like how they challenge me.

Plus, add the strength training I do at home, it’s been a vigorous week. My deadlifts are at 185 with me currently doing about 3 sets of 4. Baby steps ya’ll…baby steps…I mean this is literally picking up 185 dead weight straight off the floor…not bad for the old lady group 🤣

My workouts include body weight work as well as using a kettlebell, dumbbells, and weighted bar. Resistance bands come in handy too.

I didn’t start here, I’ve come along way from my little 8lb dumbbells from several years ago!

I do talk a lot about the importance of strength training, for women and men, and the crucial role it can play in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be old and weak.

Old may happen, weakness doesn’t need to.

Why strength train?

Let’s define that first. Strength training can be accomplished using just your body ( we all have those!) And with the obvious, weights for lifting. Both are done to build more physical strength

Strength training is the best way to increase muscle mass, keep body fat at bay, and increase overall strength.

Even in todays world women who participate in formal or consistent weight training is extremely low with many opting only for cardiovascular exercise. If you’re a woman, you shouldn’t be avoiding weights, and you should take strength training seriously.

Let’s look at reasons why

* you will get physically stronger. If there is one thing I love about how my workouts carry over into my daily life, it’s being strong and very capable to handle anything. I love being able to move and lift things without needing help.

Not because I want to feel tough( well maybe a little 😉) but because it’s rather empowering.

I often help customers unload equipment at my sons engine shop. I love the looks I get when I tell a man I will help unload.

One guy…”well it’s pretty heavy…I mean you look strong but it’s heavy..”

I didn’t tell him I was more concerned he wouldn’t be able to deliver on his end than mine.

A well trained womans body is as capable as a man. Strength is not gender specific.

Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent on others. Increasing your strength also means daily tasks and routine exercise will be less likely to cause injury.

Do you know….. research concludes that even moderate strength training can increase a womans strength by 30 to 50 percent. Research also shows a woman can develop her strength at the same rate as a man.

You’ll lose some fat

Studies show the average woman who trains 2-3 times a week, for two months, can gain nearly 2 pounds of muscle and lose 3.5 lbs of fat.

And for the record…you don’t turn fat into muscle….the times I read that in places…nor can you claim gaining weight as muscle after working out for 2 weeks. It takes consistent work and time.

You’ll gain strength without bulk

For whatever reason, if there’s a myth out there regarding women and weight lifting, it’s this.

They worry about getting “bulky”.

Sorry ladies, we just don’t have the genetic makeup for that to happen. We lack the hormones and honestly we aren’t gonna eat enough and workout hard and long enough to even come close.

What will happen? You will develop muscle “tone” and muscle definition and that’s a huge win.

You will decrease your risk of osteoporosis

Weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) this coupled with adequate dietary calcium is our best defense against osteoporosis.

You can improve your athletic performance

No matter what you do, strength training can not only improve your athletic ability, it can protect from injuries as well.

You will reduce your risk of back pain, injury and arthritis

Strength training not only builds stronger muscles but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Strengthening the low-back muscles can help in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.

Will reduce your risk of heart disease
Weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.

Weight training can help with peri menopause symptoms

During midlife women have often put on weight, become more sedentary, and do not exercise which can enhance the symptoms women complain of during the years of peri menopause and menopause.

Fatigue, hot flashes, low mood or depression, weight gain and muscle aches and pains and other issues are often complained about. Strength training can often help combat these symptoms or offer some level of relief. Strength training decreases body fat, increases muscle mass, and optimizes hormones, not to mention, getting stronger is a great mental boost too.

Finally, it’s never to late to benefit
Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.

Adding strength training to your weekly exercise ( 2-3 times a week) man or woman will give you great benefits that will help you in all areas of your life.

Your turn.. is strength training a part of your week? What benefits have you seen doing it?

Aging Or Decaying?

Random. Spontaneous. Adventurous. Fun.

Some of those adjectives describe me at any given time…. especially when it comes to doing fun, off the cuff pics. I recently had posted and shared this playful one after the AARP magazine had come in the afternoon mail.

 

Aging Or Decaying
No. This isn’t my usual reading material.

AARP for my readers outside of the U.S. means American Association of Retired Persons.

I know I’m in that happy “ you’re getting all middle-aged and old, get settled down” zone but honestly, I relate on no level whatsoever to it.

I know there are probably one or two people who want me to get the memo about middle age and want me to talk about getting old and achy with my middle aged complaints and put up my Converse and torn jeans but I don’t foresee that happening any ‘ol time soon.

Nah.

I have a wide age range of friends, but totally love my younger crowd. I love their energy, passion, plans for the future,  and their outspoken openness on many things. I find conversations interesting and fun with them and in turn, they actually enjoy me too.

Age is pretty irrelevant to me.

That being said… after I took the pic and set the magazine down an article on the cover grabbed my attention…

“31 Proven Age-Erasing Secrets”

Most of the time I read these articles honestly not expecting to walk away with much. I look for things I find usable or that I can share with my followers.

The article first of all, was immediately engaging and witty. You can always pull me in with that.

Humor is the way to my heart 😛

The article went on to discuss how to remain healthy, strong, fit and active in what they refer to as your “third act”.  Some people refer to it as your “golden years”, you know those years you are supposed to hang it all up, chill out, and watch the world go by.

It goes on to mention that an active healthy lifestyle can prevent many health issues and keep us moving and doing things that we love. ( something I firmly believe)

Then they used an interesting term I’ve never heard, but it really had me thinking for the rest of the day.

It was this….”most of what people call aging, and most of what we dread about getting older, is actually decay. We are stuck with real aging, but decay is optional.”

Yeah, just let that breathe over you for a minute or two.

Decay is optional. Those words hung out in my head the rest of the day. I’ve just never thought of it in such a way.

It’s true if you think about it. We begin aging the minute we are born into this world.

Aging, is a natural part of the life circle.

The article goes on to say that basically, we don’t have to decay, yet many will.

“In the absence of signals to grow, your body, including your brain, decays and you “age”. The keys to “overriding” the decay signals? Daily exercise, good nutrition, emotional commitment, and a real engagement with living.”

The article continues on with all the health benefits of daily, strong, vigorous exercise as the main way to prevent “decay”.

It should be noted that decay is listed as all the illnesses, aches, pains, and overall decline that people associate with, or believe is, a part of “getting old”.

It just doesn’t have to be.

Remember that “use it or lose it” term ? if you don’t actively use your body in time you will lose muscle and muscle strength.  Walking to your bathroom will feel like you ran a marathon. Daily, easy tasks will feel harder. Basic things will take more effort.

The biggest contributors of decay is inactivity, an overall sedentary lifestyle, followed by poor nutrition.

On a personal level, I think there’s a lot to be said for strong, daily exercise and good nutrition. There are payoffs. No, they aren’t instantaneous. Yes, you have to invest time and energy but is it worth it to live a strong, energetic, healthy life?

I absolutely believe so.

So I was left pondering this question… how do I want to live out my life?

Do I want to age? … which is a natural part of life.

Or do I want to decay? …. be sedentary, eat poorly, be overweight, develop diseases associated with  being overweight, live a sedentary lifestyle and have aches and pains from a body that isn’t used?

And I’ll leave this question with you.

Do you want to age, or decay?

Below are 7 rules to stop aging from the authors:

1.Exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life.

2. Do serious aerobic (cardio peeps, cardio) exercise 4 days a week for the rest of your life.

3. Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.

4. Spend less than you make.

5. Quit eating crap.

6. Care.

7. Connect and commit.

Pretty straightforward, right? The most important thing is to start. If you get two days in a week, great. Set your goals on three etc until you are working out most of the week. I know aerobic (cardio) hard breathing, sweating exercise a lot of people don’t like but that’s youth building stuff… do it.

Just start somewhere, where you can, and then build on more days as you’re able.

Ok and before I leave you, I did find and read this book. It was sooooo worth the few dollars I spent on it. I won’t spoil it for you, but you can find my review for it here…..https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/04/younger-next-year-for-women-book-review/

 

Want more info on this? Check out the “Younger Next Year” series of books by Chris Crowley and Henry S Lodge M.D.

 

That Whole Age Thing Again

live your life

If you’ve followed me awhile you know I’m big on wanting people to be empowered. I also believe when you start challenging yourself and pushing into new things it empowers and strengthens you, builds a new confidence in you.

I also don’t find age to be an excuse to not tackle new things, to try new adventures, or to improve and strengthen  your body.

I will admit… I have a hard time controlling my face when I hear things that make me twitch.

For instance… when people start talking about how getting old means things fall apart and you have aches and pains and health issues….ok.. but this…dang it… that PRINT does seem to be getting smaller haha…

Anyway, I really try not to let my face get… that look…. on it. The “Oh, pleassssseee” look.

In a world that is more and more sedentary and people view purposeful movement as some kind of fresh hell and don’t want to be made uncomfortable, we are seeing a bigger more wide spread issue of obesity and health issues, you can add those aging aches and pains to that too.

Exercise, done right, can be uncomfortable. It’s easy to come up with excuses or reasons not to… we don’t want to get out of our comfort zone.

Listen up… I’ve preached on this before…our bodies need movement for health and wellness.

Even if you don’t care if you ever see a defined muscle on your body or you want to look like you came off a fitness magazine… your body needs exercise for good health.

People as they age get aches, pains and can’t do things because their bodies haven’t had to do a lot of intentional physical activity…..basically … you use it or lose it. If you don’t do things to build and strengthen muscles, how will you be able to do harder tasks as you age ? Not even the hard ones, but those that should be easy be feel hard.

Yeah, I get it. When you start off you DO feel old and tired haha. Seriously, though, what really happens is you realize you’re out of shape and it’s frustrating. You don’t like the winded, feeling tired, achy, feeling that goes along with it. You wonder if it’s worth it.

But if you’re smart… you keep at it… small little steps at a time…day by day… until those activities don’t leave you feeling like the old lady on the life alert commercials who needs assistance getting up.

Is it really easier? or has your body beautifully adapted to the demands being put on it and….gasp… gotten a little stronger ?

Empowered with your growing strength and abilities, you push on for a little more.

Purposefully working and strengthening your body is, and should be, a life long process.

I’ll share with you a story I saw on the news today. Stories on running, fitness etc (obviously) always catch my attention.

So when the story was announced about a weight lifting grandma, well yeah I wanted to see it. I honestly thought it was going to be about a woman that I follow who is 73 and in better physical shape than woman half or less of her age. She looks incredible. She credits her looks to… surprise…good nutrition, a positive attitude, and staying physically active(she is a body builder)

However, today wasn’t about her. It was about a 78 year old woman who, well, honestly did look like the picture perfect “grandmother”.

Silver hair, glasses, average build, she was in basic knit capris and a t shirt…. deadlifting 225 lbs.! I don’t even deadlift that much yet! Yet there she was slinging it up and down like nothing. The cool thing? Her husband said it was just something “she picked up and started doing recently, and it really surprised him” haha I bet it did!

That means, no matter where you are in life, you can get out there and get started and begin to improve and help yourself right where you are.

Listen I know and understand lots of people have  (health issues or problems) to deal with.  Learn to modify activities to meet your needs and work within that area. My husband had major back surgery years ago and deals with pain that can come and go. My dad had knee replacement and has aches that come with that. Just learn to work where you are and do what you can do.

Don’t let “age” be a crutch to keep you from having and building a stronger body. A strong body lets you be active and energetic for living your life fully =)

new goal