Are you on looking to get strong? Or do you worry lifting weights will make you bulky? Or maybe you are somewhere in between. Regardless of what side you are on, I've worked with hundreds of women over the past 10 years, and I’ve seen firsthand how empowering and beneficial strength training can be. Although there does seem to be an increase in the number of women who are strength training these days, there is still a lot of unknown reasons as to WHY strength training is so crucial so let me explain.
After the age of 30, we start to lose muscle mass as well as bone density and flexibility in our tendons and ligaments every year. This is a normal part of aging but just because it’s normal, does that mean we should sit back and accept it? Heck no! I fact, we can actually reverse the effects of aging by lifting those weights.
Say what? Yep, it's true. Whether you want to call it strength training or resistance training, it’s all about committing to maintaining and improving your body through building strength.
Why strength training?
First things first, working out with weights is a great way to burn fat, increase stamina, improve heart health, and build a lean and defined body. But the benefits go way beyond that.
1. Muscle growth Loading your joints effectively with weight through movements like squats and deadlifts has been shown to preserve cartilage, stimulate muscle and bone growth, and reduce the risk of falls and fractures as you grow older. It also helps to regulate hormones, which allows you to preserve muscle and increase strength. (Plus, the more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn!)
2. Injury prevention Another reason to grab a set of dumbbells and get lifting: strengthening the muscles around your joints will help to prevent injury. For instance, around 80% of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lifetime, including during pregnancy. Building strength in your legs, glutes, back and core can allow you to avoid injury and pain.
3. A little goes a long way And the good news is, you don’t have to hit the weights for hours every day to feel the benefits and see results. Just 2-3 days a week of resistance training, with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps for big muscle groups (as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine), can go a long way.
While strength training is important for all of us, there are certain goals you should be working for at different stages of your life. Let’s take a look at the benefits of being strong when you’re...
Strength training in your 20s
One of the biggest benefits of starting strength training young is building a solid habit. Take advantage of all that youthful energy to get into a regular weightlifting routine, learning proper form, how to progressively overload, and how to avoid injuries in future. It’s a healthy, confidence-building habit that will better prepare you for a career, managing stress, pregnancy, and so many other things you’ll experience in your life.
Strength training in your 30s
Do you know what lifting weights is great for? Increasing your energy! With your career, relationships, travel, perhaps a few little ones running around or on the way, you don’t have time to feel sluggish. By prioritizing your strength training routine, you will not only slow the effects of aging, but you will increase your mental clarity and mood for being the best business owner, co-worker, friend, partner and mother you can be.
Strength training in your 40s
Your 40s signal the end of your childbearing years and the possible onset of menopause. It is crucial to load your muscles and joints during these years to slow the rate of bone density loss. As women, we already have lower levels of testosterone and muscle mass, so without strength training our bodies will feel the effects of aging more significantly than men.
If you haven’t picked up weights before now, you’ll need some guidance on how to do it properly. Built by Brianne has designed a 90-day coaching program for beginners that’s perfect for you – apply here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdpiANUEIEGohUkZxpbBsqe3yHkWeTKOc8Hb-Ceyi8PSEN-jw/viewform?usp=sf_link
Strength training in your 50s
The average age of menopause is around 50. Preparing for and going through menopause and beyond is arguably one of the most important times to strength train. There are numerous studies supporting the use of strength training at this stage not only to help to maintain muscle mass, but because it can reduce fat gain, prevent joint pain and help promote circulation of hormones and nutrients through the body.
Plus, lifting weights is the gold standard recommendation for bone health as we age! Doing load bearing and aerobic exercises frequently and consistently (ideally at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week) can delay or reduce loss of bone density and the onset of osteoporosis.
Strength training in your 60s and beyond
As well as all the benefits for muscle bone health we’ve talked about for previous stages, maintaining (or beginning) a strength training routine at this age and beyond will reduce the effects of age-related illnesses such as arthritis and diabetes. It’s also crucial to maintaining balance and coordination, thereby reducing falls and preventing fractures, so you are able to hold onto your independence. Regular exercise is also great for your brain, leading to better cognition, information processing and memory.
There are so many amazing benefits of regular strength training through all stages of your life, and it doesn’t take much to get started. I've worked with women of all shapes and sizes from age 15 to 71 and everything in between. Do yourself and your health both a favor by strength training today! If you’re ready to make the first lift – or take it to the next level – Built by Brianne is here for you.