By MAHESH S KALE,
Cardio for women and strength training for men - this is nothing but a myth that this article tries to dispel.
What if women knew that a specific type of training might help them with improved metabolism, enhanced muscle strength and power, healthier heart and lungs, high energy levels, sound sleep, corrected body posture, better mobility, clearer complexion, low stress and anxiety levels, increased bone density, shedding those extra pounds all while making them look and feel better.Women are surrounded with all sorts of myths regarding strength training - like it is not effective, it can make them look muscular, it is boring and painful, it requires a strict diet and so on.
Strength training or resistance training is a type of physical training that specialises in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which in turn builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. Strength training can be performed in two ways - one is the Isometric resistance which involves contracting of muscles against a non-moving object, such as against the floor in case of a push-up and other is isotonic resistance which includes contracting of muscles through a range of motion as in weight lifting. On an average only 5-10% women in India practise strength training or weight training.
It’s high time for this number to change. Pumping iron at least thrice a week will not only trim inches off your hips and waist, but will also transform your entire body and your health. Now the days are gone when people used to say that cardio exercises suit women while strength training is for men. The overall benefits of strength training can last hours after a workout and can boost your mood all day. Benefits Of Strength Training For Women Burns more calories. “Cardio exercises like running; swimming, walking, and cycling are quite popular when it comes to burning off those stubborn calories, but strength training not only burns calories during the workout they actually increase your resting metabolism (meaning the rate at which your body burns calories when you’re just going about your day, not exercising),” says Consultant Physiotherapist Dr Vishal M Patle. “No doubt Cardio in a crucial part of your fitness routine, but only a wholesome routine including both cardio and strength training will help you lose weight and keep it off for a long time,” he adds. Enhances energy levels and improves your mood. Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which lift energy levels and improve mood.
They further help you to sleep better. Improves bone mineral density. Studies have shown women who do not perform strength training may experience up to a 4% reduction in bone mineral density per year. “Mere 30 minutes twice a week of high intensity resistance and impact training will improve functional performance, as well as bone density, structure, and strength in post menopausal women with low bone mass,” says noted Physiotherapist Dr Shailesh Patil. Good brain tonic. Strength training could improve brain health across a lifetime, but the effects are perhaps the strongest in older women who are suffering from cognitive decline/disorders. Studies reveal that the key to this might be the high-intensity strength training exercises which increase the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. Eminent body image. It’s obvious that resistance training affects body structure, physique, but research indicates that consistent strength training improves body image and perceived physical appearance - irrespective of the actual aesthetic results. Improvement in mental health and energy levels, as well as feelings of accomplishment are the likely catalysts for improved overall body image, according to researchers. Better body mechanics and lowers injury. Resistance training helps you to achieve a good balance, coordination, and posture.
Studies conducted on strength training have revealed that in older people who are at higher risk of falling (and causing a lot of damage) because of worse physical functioning, strength training reduced risk of falling by 50% compared with individuals who did not do strength-training exercise.”Balance is entirely dependent on the strength of the muscles that keep you on your feet, healthier the muscles are, better the balance will be,” says Physiotherapist Dr.Neeta Bhave. Regulates blood sugar level. Women suffering from type 2 diabetes should incorporate resistance training in their daily routine as it improves the muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose, or blood sugar. Our muscle cells have several numbers of transporters whose main function is to pick up glucose from the blood and deliver it to the muscle cells. This specific training enhances their functioning to pick up a lot more glucose from the blood and into muscle, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels. Lowers the risk of Sarcopenia and will make you faster and fitter.
The specific training not only tones down the muscle but also make them super strong which in turn will help you to carry out daily activities with ease. Also after the age of 30 women start losing as much as 3 to 5% of lean muscle mass every year thanks to aging. Strength training reduces the risk of age-related Sarcopenia. (Sarcopenia is the medical term for low muscle mass). “Strength training in case of women will never make them look bulkier or muscular because they have high levels of Estrogen and low levels of testosterone in comparison to men,” says Physiotherapist Vishal Patle. When properly performed, research suggests that the health benefits of strength training are numerous and, often, unique to this specific type of exercise. Strength training is not only for men. Strength training will make you a fitter version of yourself. Finally being strong doesn’t mean you will no longer be beautiful. l