How Strength Training Helps Women
Although strength training is a common activity that is associated mostly with males, women are starting to realize the benefits of it. Strength training involves any kind of resistance training – usually using weights.
Here are three benefits of strength training for women:
1) Increased Metabolic Rate: If weight loss is your number one priority, don’t just stick to the cardio. It has been found that a consistent workout that is a mix of both cardio and strength training is the most effective in combating fat. Strength training increases your metabolic rate by increasing the calories you burn on a daily basis.
2) Increasing and Restoring Bone Density: Women are prone to brittle bones and osteoporosis because many times we do not have enough calcium in our diets. Strength training prevents and fights osteoporosis and gives you a good workout at the same time. Along with weight training, women should eat a diet rich in calcium (dairy products, soy, spinach) and/or take calcium supplements.
3) Increased Lean Muscle Mass: Many women refrain from weight lifting due to the fact that they do not want to get bulky like men. Fortunately, this will not be the case. Women do not have enough testosterone in their bodies to build that type of muscle mass. For women strength training will merely tone you up and get rid of excess fat in those problem areas. Not only does more lean muscle mean a more toned body, but the more muscle you have the more fat is burned by doing absolutely nothing!
Women should engage in strength training activities about three times per week minimum to enjoy the benefits. It is also a great activity for older women due to its unique ability to keep the body young and prevent bone loss.
Keeping Fit After 40
Even if 40 is the new 20 (how can that be?), there are certain unwanted things that come with age. Gray hair, wrinkles, and weight gain. Typically, around age 40, many people start to gain weight. There are many reasons for this, but the main culprit is hormones.
As you get older, your hormones change, especially in women. This change in hormones predispose women to put on a few pounds, even when they are not making any changes in their diet or exercise routines. In younger women, menstrual cycle hormones balance out the body. Estrogen is a hormones that makes the body store fat and progesterone maintains lean muscle and engages fat burning by the body naturally.
Hormones and Aging
Unfortunately, once you hit 40 the body’s production of estrogen is more uneven. The levels fluctuate between a lot of this hormone in the body and very minimal amounts. There is also a drop in progesterone in older women, making the balance of these two hormones out of whack. What then happens in the body is a natural tendency to store fat. High estrogen levels also equals fluid retention, meaning that a woman could carry up to 5 pounds of only water weight.
Even though it’s not real fat, it is unwanted weight in mostly the abdomen area that many women do not want. So what can women do about this age related weight gain? You have to be as smart as possible about your diet and exercise habits as well as truthful with yourself. As your hormones fluctuate, metabolism slows down and energy isn’t as it once was, it is important to really stick to an exercise schedule and decrease the amount of calories you are eating every day.
Many women tend to think that they are eating and exercising the way they always have when usually this isn’t true. Take an honest look at where you get your calories from every day and figure out how to lower this number while increasing the total amount of calories burned. Swap that latte for a tea and join a new yoga class to work with your age instead of against it. Staying slim after 40 is possible, it just takes some dedication to a healthy lifestyle.
Bonus Workout-Booty Toning Exercises
For most women, having a nicely shaped butt is high on the wish list. Unfortunately, after your twenties women’s bodies start to change and this is not always a reality. The butt is a common problem area for women who often carry excess weight in that area. Here are three effective butt toning exercises that are sure to whip that backside into shape in no time.
- The squat. The squat is the best exercise for shaping, toning, and strengthening the thighs and butt. You can use weights to do squats in order to increase the intensity and see faster results. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and pull your shoulders back slightly. Look straight ahead, slowly bend at the knees, inclining your torso forward slightly and bend down until your thighs are about are almost parallel to the ground. Concentrate on pushing through your heels to stand yourself back up and contract your gluteus muscles. Repeat for three sets of twelve.
- The lunge. The lunge is another very efficient exercise for toning and firming leg and butt muscles. You can also use a dumbbell with this exercise to increase intensity. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, with your feet pointing straight ahead. Step your left foot forward, keeping your forward leg centered over the ankle. Make sure your knee doesn’t go beyond your toes and push off with your heels.. When coming back to the starting position try to focus on straightening your knee and hip. Switch legs and repeat for three sets of twelve.
- Cable Kick Back. Hook a leather cuff to a low cable pulley and then attach the cuff to your ankle. Face the weight stack from two feet away and grasp the frame to keep your balance. Keep your knees and hips slightly bent and your abs tight, contract your glutes and kick the other leg back in a semicircular arc as high as it will go without straining yourself. Once the leg is full extended, squeeze your glutes. Bring your working leg forward, resisting the pull of the cable until you reach the starting position. Switch legs and repeat for three sets of twelve.
Doing these exercises three times a week alternating with cardio workouts will help you achieve a toned body and give you more energy.