People find various motivations to exercise: from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, losing weight, to training for athletic endeavors – exercise looks different to everyone. So why care so much about strength training in particular? Especially for women? The reason is clear – strength training supports whatever your movement goals are. Whether you just want to be able to carry your kids, chase around grandkids, run a marathon, perform a difficult yoga pose, function well at your job – strength training will benefit you.
Women in general carry less muscle mass than men. Why is muscle mass important? It helps maintain a healthy metabolism and therefore healthy weight, helps maintain your bone density, supports joints, supports good postural habits, and helps you function better throughout the day. How do you build muscle mass? Strength training! Even adding one day per week of some form of strength training can lead to huge benefits in your daily life.
Strength training is beneficial to women who are prenatal and postpartum – whether recently or years after having children. Regular strength training helps improve pelvic floor function, which is important for sexual health and core stability (even for those that have not given birth). Strength training and regular exercise have shown to improve birth outcomes as well, such as shorter labors and less excessive weight gain.
Strength training has misconceptions surrounding it. Many women are worried that they will get injured easily, or that they will start to look “bulky”. Strength training actually reduces your risk for injury. Building muscle allows for more support for your joints. This contributes to the health and longevity of joints. Strength training also increases coordination and body awareness, leading to less chances for injury. Gaining large amounts of muscle mass is actually quite difficult. Unless you are training specifically in ways to gain large amounts of muscle mass, you will not become “bulky” unintentionally.
Women should strength train because it positively impacts not only physical health, but mental health. Strength training leads to the release of endorphins (feel good chemicals in your body) and improves mood. This also gives women another healthy way to be dealing with stress, as strength training is a great emotional outlet. Strength training even one to two times per week will increase sense of well being.
How does someone start strength training? Coulee Health is able to help answer that question. We are offering a Foundations of Strength class for women only. This will be a non-intimidating, introductory class for women new to strength training. It is a class ideal for all women with limited experience strength training – for teenagers to prenatal women, to postpartum mothers, and even aerobic athletes. Our class is perfect for women looking to build their strength training foundation. Coulee Health also offers a Womxn’s Strength class for those with a little more of strength training background, and are looking for the right environment for consistent training. These classes are an equal blend of strength training and conditioning work, and are offered 3 times per week. For more information about Coulee Health classes – click here.
Ellyn Halley, DC