Why Women Over 40 Need to Strength Train

It’s never too late to start working out, so don’t think that age is an excuse just because you’re 40 years old or older. If anything, it’s more important for women to work out when they’re a bit older, because they experience natural muscle and bone loss as they age. By doing strength training, you build your muscles, which will support your bones.

Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean that working out with weights will give you big bulky muscles, or that you have to hit the weight room where the muscle men hang out. It just means that you will build your muscle mass while burning fat. If you’re worried about location, note that there are gyms that cater to just women, or you can do a fitness plan at home.

Either way, the sooner you get started the better. Try it and reap some of these benefits:

Loss of body fat

By strength training and building your muscles, you will burn more calories all day long. That means that no matter what you’re doing, fat is burning off of you, because muscle is active, calorie-burning tissue. As you continue to work out with weights, you will not bulk up, but your muscles will be more defined.
Increased agility
Have you ever gotten up from a sitting position and had to hold onto something to prevent yourself from falling? As you get older, your balance may be a bit off, and you may stumble from time to time. Resistance training builds your muscles to help you to keep stable, because your muscles are necessary to support you.

Physical strength

Being stronger may help prevent others from having to take care of you in your senior years. You may be less likely to have to depend on others to help get you around. By the way, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you don’t ever have to stop with your resistance training. The longer you do it, the stronger you will be.

Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., director of the Neurovascular and Neurometabolic Unit at McMaster University Medical Center in Ontario, has found that 65 year olds can have more leg strength and less body fat than a sedentary 20 year old, which clearly shows that that age matters little in this regard.

Reduce your risk of heart disease

Resistance training can improve your heart health by potentially lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising your good cholesterol (HDL). When you add a cardio workout to your weight training plan, you increase the benefits even further.

Reduce your risk of diabetes

strength trainingStrength training helps your body improve the way it uses blood sugar. “Your blood sugar may not be as elevated if you develop more muscles,” says Dawn Sherr, RD, a certified diabetes educator with the American Association of Diabetes Control. Your body uses glucose to power your muscles, which then clears out the extra sugar from your system.

Decrease your risk of osteoporosis

As you age, your bone density decreases, but resistance training can help with that. Studies have shown that weight training can actually increase bone mineral density in the spine and hip. It also improves your balance, which will help prevent you from falling and breaking your hip – or any bone, for that matter.

Fight depression

A Harvard study showed that resistance training for 10 weeks reduced clinical depression symptoms better than counseling or medication. When you exercise you release those “feel good” hormones called endorphins, which can help kick all that depression to the curb. Also, working out gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

When you begin your weight training workout, learn the proper techniques and form to get the most out of your workout and to prevent injuries. Stretch your muscles for about 30 seconds, and start with light weights. As you progress with your workouts and build strength, you can increase the size of your weights. If you have a health condition or just want some guidance getting started, consider getting a personal trainer who is familiar with your medical history involved.

It’s never too late to get started on a resistance training program. It is possible to build strength at any age, and it’s also important to do so in order stay healthy.

There are so many benefits to resistance training. Why not start now?

-The Alternative Daily


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