Health Benefits of Weight Lifting for women
Bone Density Improvements for Women Who Lift
But why does that even matter?
Osteopenia, and it’s more developed progression osteoporosis, are both diseases classified by low bone density. These diseases greatly increase the risk of bone fractures. If you’re feeling healthy now, that’s great, but it’s important to consider the longer term too. Osteoporosis-related fractures can radically affect your quality of life by limiting movement, causing chronic pain, and stealing your independence, among other things.
Women are more likely than men to get osteopenia because they naturally have less muscle mass than men, and because these risk factors go up after menopause. There’s also some factors that increase risk (article):
- If you’re a slender and smaller-boned woman
- You’re Caucasian or Asian
- Those with lower levels of vitamin D
So if you’re a slender woman living in a higher latitude country who’s Asian or Caucasian, this can be pretty scary. But it doesn’t need to be, as there are a lot of factors you can control, such as eating well, lifting weights, and getting outside as much as you can (or supplementing with vitamin D)!
If You Suffer From Aches or Low Back Pain, Lifting Could Bring Relief
Pain is an extremely complicated topic. Pain could signal that:
- There’s nothing wrong yet, but keep doing whatever is causing this pain and there could be future damage.
- There is damage, and that’s why it’s registering as pain.
- You’re feeling pain for no apparent reason.
On the flip side, sometimes there is damage with no pain. Some people have slipped discs in their back with no pain. While there are a lot of mysteries surrounding pain, lower back pain is something that 80% of us living in the modern world will experience at some point in our lives (study).
Resistance training has evidence behind it that it can help quite a bit with the relief of low back pain (study), and it could help with the relief of a variety of other aches and pains (study, study, study, study, study).
Even better, it can strengthen your back so that you’re less vulnerable to a debilitating injury down the road. On that note:
Build Muscle To Bullet-Proof Your Body & Become Ultra Resilient
Non-lifters often mistake building muscle as vain (since it improves your appearance) or pointless (to them it’s a waste of time of money). But it’s not just a way to improve your appearance or have fun—it’s healthy. Like real healthy and it can be fun and rewarding.
If you think about fat being the stored energy on your body, it’s really healthy too. It allows you to live during the day without needing to have an IV drip of glucose directly to your blood stream. And if there was ever a shortage of food or some reason you couldn’t eat, you could still have energy for your body to rely on to continue living for a while. The problems only arise when you have a very large amount of fat on your body.
Muscle can act in a similar way, as it’s made out of very important amino acids that your body needs. You get these amino acids when they’re broken down from eating protein, and you can use them to build larger muscles. Your body also needs a certain amount of these amino acids to continually create new blood cells, regenerate organs, maintain your skin/nails/hair, etc.
If you don’t eat enough protein, your body will just take these amino acids from your muscles to do these daily processes. This is incredibly important if you ever, God forbid, get in a serious car accident and can’t eat, or get a life-altering and life-threatening illness like cancer, etc.
Lifting weights and having lots of muscle also helps fight off heart disease, diabetes, sarcopenia, etc. If you want to dive into this topic further, one of my all time favorite health and fitness articles is available for your reading on the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition website: The Under-Appreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease.
Sleep Better & Feel More Energized
Sleep is wonderful. And if you get enough of it, around 8 hours a night, you’ll be more fat resistant (study, study, study), you’ll have more willpower to make smart decisions and manage your mood (Willpower, 2012), your skin will age slower (study), you’ll look better (study), you’ll learn better (article, study, study), reduce the risk for a ton of diseases (study, study), and you’ll have a stronger immune system (study, study).
Wow. Chances are you already know that sleep is amazing, though. The problem is getting enough sleep and getting good sleep. If you wake up a lot, have trouble falling asleep, or can’t get back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night, exercising should help. One study compared athletes who did lots of exercise throughout the week to regular people who didn’t exercise, and the athletes had better quality sleep, woke up less during the night. Those who didn’t exercise regularly often complained about their sleep quality (study, study, study).
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