Why strength training is so important for women

There is a reason so many women lift weights today: Strength training builds muscle mass, makes our joints stronger and enhances bone density—and that’s just the start of it.

What else? It may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can help you relieve back pain and bolster good posture. It reduces the risk of injury. It supports mental well-being. Naturally, weight training also burns fat and calories and more muscle mass increases your metabolism, so you burn more even when you’re not exercising. Interestingly, women recover faster after weight training thanks to higher estrogen levels.

“I always encourage my patients to incorporate strength training when they exercise. It is good for your mind and your body and it is even more important as time goes on,” said Dr. Staci Biegner. “If this is new to you, you can start small—a few minutes a couple times a week. If you’re already comfortable with strength training, you can increase the amount you’re lifting, number of repetitions or days, as long as you give yourself time to recover.”

While many people get the recommended amount of cardiovascular exercise each week, only about 20 percent work their major muscle groups with regular strength training, according to recent studies. These exercises can involve dumbbells, barbells, bands and weighted balls (a personal trainer or sculpt class can be a great way to start), but they can also include bodyweight exercises that don’t require any special equipment—think squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups, for example.


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