Why women in midlife need to lift weights

Why women in midlife need to lift weights

Strong Women! A question I am often asked is “What form of exercise should I be doing, especially as I hit my 40s and beyond?” Cardio (especially running) has always been at the forefront of the media when it comes to fitness whilst strength training has often been overlooked. However, just 30 minutes of resistance training three times per week is one the best things you can do for your health and fitness especially as we head into midlife. I’m passionate about this style of training and want to spread the word!

Back to basics!

Strength training which is also called resistance training or weight training is basically just using your body weight and/or resistance bands and weights to add load to your workout. For many years women have associated weight training with images of body builders and big bulging muscles but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Often we are talking 2-4 kg dumbbells mixed with bodyweight exercises. Over time you may decide to gradually increase the weights or the number of reps – this is called progressive overload and will help you get stronger and fitter. The increased load and demand on the muscles forces them to adapt and grow stronger over time. But the benefits of strength training don’t just stop at the muscular system…

So, what are some of the key benefits of strength training for women? 

Well, they really are almost endless! Not only does it contribute hugely to building and retaining muscle tissue and very importantly improving our bone density (which naturally reduces as we age especially post the menopause) but it can also have such a positive effect on many aspects of the body including:

  • Reducing back pain by enhancing core strength and stability 
  • Reducing the risk of trips and falls by building strength
  • Improving posture and balance  
  • Enhancing mental wellbeing – lowering stress levels and releasing endorphins for that mental boost
  • Boosting our immunity, improving sleep

How about strength training and body fat?

You will be pleased to know that strength training can help if your goal is to reduce body fat. Whilst the workout itself may not burn as many calories as a run or a pure cardio workout, one of the key benefits of strength training is weight management – by increasing muscle mass and reducing fat. The increased muscle mass contributes to a higher metabolism or metabolic rate which helps regulate body mass long term & long after the workout has finished whilst the body repairs. However, it is important to make sure that whilst you’re asking your body to build extra muscle and work hard you fuel it sufficiently to do so – so a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of protein.

The next question is how to strength train and how often…

Research has shown that 30-45 minutes three times a week is ideal. Strength training three times a week gives your body enough time to recover between sessions whilst still pushing it enough to see the results. If you’re new to fitness and training you may need to start more gently with very light weights and build up over time. I have long since been an advocate of strength training, particularly for women, and with this in mind I built my platform – Caroline’s Circuits. My workouts are 4 times a week for just 30 minutes. They are interval strength training circuits which work different muscle groups and challenge the body – they give the perfect mix of strength and cardio for the best results.

The online workouts are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (they are all recorded and available to you within an hour of the session if you can’t make them live). Classes have been specifically designed to suit all fitness levels and create fitness habits which last & which produce results.

Any questions as always please do get in touch!

Caroline x

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