Why women train? Gym time translates to energy, strength for daily life.
International Women’s Day is March 8 and this year’s theme is Balance for Better. Research shows many women are holding down a job and also taking on most of the work when it comes to managing children and the household. According to Statistics Canada research (2015) 46.3% of women reported feeling constantly under stress trying to accomplish more than they could handle, compared with 39.8% of men. For many, this requires nearly superhuman stamina and leaves them exhausted and stressed. For women balancing multiple roles, fitness is a rare opportunity for self-care, an outlet for stress relief and a chance to train for their busy lives. According to Kelly Musovic, personal training manager with GoodLife Fitness, more women are embracing strength training because of its physical benefits, and because it equips them to handle the pressures of daily life.
Whether you train with weights or just body weight, strength training is increasingly popular because it:
- Burns more calories. Increasing muscle mass boosts metabolism; after a strength workout, the body continues to burn calories for 72 hours, compared to just 24 hours after a cardio workout.
- Builds bone density, reduces injury risk. Stressing your muscles and bones with an increasing load can build strength in bones and muscles. It also helps improve coordination and balance, which can help protect against falls.
- Strengthens your heart. Heart disease is the number one cause of premature death in Canadian women. Studies show lifting weights for less than an hour a week may reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent
But there’s more to it than that. Strength training can help women prepare for the heavy lifting of their daily lives because of these reasons:
- You feel stronger and more powerful (and you probably are). You look healthier. You’re reducing the risk of disease and hitting exercise goals. You have more energy for all aspects of your life, and you have the stamina to accomplish more. These all add to an increased sense of self-worth and empowerment.
- Using your muscles triggers endorphins. A strength training workout can boost your mood, help with stress and contribute to a more balanced mindset.
- You can get more done. With improved strength, better coordination and balance and more energy, you can get more done by yourself – from carrying the groceries, to mowing the lawn and shovelling to caring for others.
The good news is strength training isn’t limited to powerlifting, it can also be done with hand weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, and even bodyweight. Personal trainers in your area are available to talk more about how strength training helps women tackle their busy, stressful lives and demonstrate some of the best strength training exercises for women.