If we really went back to the start of women’s rights, it goes back to 1919 when Congress passed the 19th Amendment guaranteeing all American women the right to vote. Yes, it’s been 100 years of women suffrage as they lectured, marched, lobbied and practiced civil disobedience to get where they are today. Even in the world of fitness, the idea of females partaking in strength training was unheard of until subtle changes started in the late 80s. Now, strength or resistance training has become not only acceptable, but a necessity for women of all ages.
Just like their male counterparts, female athletes now realize resistance training can add up to a faster, more explosive athlete in all sports. The thought of becoming too muscle-bound was always a fear of many females. Most female bodybuilders take supplements just so they can gain the necessary bulk to compete. For the average female, lifting weights will help to burn fat and get the toned look that women are after. For the young athlete, working on full-range motion, explosive movements can create a distinct advantage over a non-trained athlete.
For the female of any age wanting to achieve optimal fitness, strength training should be a priority in your regimen. Resistance training is actually the best way to burn calories while working out. After a heavy bout of strength training, you continue to consume additional oxygen for hours. This is known as post-exercise oxygen consumption. When your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure and an increased metabolic rate. As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body’s metabolic rate is higher. Your body requires more work to maintain lean tissue than it does to maintain adipose (fat) tissue. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be. So, when it comes to weight loss and management, it is extremely important to keep those muscles toned as we age.
Resistance training helps a female maintain the curves that are desirable, promotes quality sleep, gives increased energy, decreases heart disease risk factors and the risk of osteoporosis, and can always be a great stress reducer.
If you’re still living in the dark days when strength training was a no-no for women, it’s never too late to get started. Strength training can benefit all aspects of life including becoming a better athlete, fitting into our jeans, moving furniture and dealing with a stressful career. Get started now and feel stronger, healthier and more confident!