This Thursday 8 March it is International Women’s Day – a day that is all about empowering women and promoting equality. The aim of International Women’s Day is to ensure that we live in a world where equality between humans is a given, not an anomaly.
And when it comes to fitness, we are seeing a sea-change in attitude. This is particularly true when it comes to lifting weights.
Even five years ago, women doing weights, particularly heavy weights, was seen as abnormal. The desirable body shape was toned and slender but ‘muscle’ was almost a dirty word. Women were warned that if they lifted heavy weights, they would become bulky and overly muscular, rather than lean and toned.
Celebrate change on International Women’s Day
Well, it seems appropriate, on this International Women’s Day, that we celebrate the fact that things are changing. Millions of women are now incorporating weights into their workouts and seeing the enormous health benefits that this can bring.
The change has come about for a number of reasons. People are becoming better informed about their health and fitness. Personal trainers, physiotherapist and doctors are advocating weight training as a route to a fitter body. People who are in the spotlight are helping to portray positive messages about being fit, toned and having muscle. Athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, hockey player Kate Richardson-Walsh, television presenter Davina McCall, footballer and presenter Alex Scott – all positive role models, all women who are happy in their own bodies.
At Kelsey Kerridge, we see resistance training, whether you use weights or your own bodyweight, as key to a well-balanced workout. The benefits are huge.
Benefits of resistance training
Weight training helps build lean muscle and muscle is a metabolically active tissue which burns carbohydrates and body fat. It makes sense therefore, to incorporate weight training as a means of weight control.
Weight training has a positive impact upon bone density, which is important as we get older. Resistance training places stress on our bones means they grow stronger and increase in density. This reduces the chances of developing osteoporosis later in life.
The psychological impact of weight training can lead to an increase in self confidence and self belief. Every time you work out with weights, you are increasing your strength levels, which is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Unlike fat loss, which takes longer, strength in the gym can increase on a week-by-week basis, which is very motivating.
Strength training will also help your performance in other sports. Whoever you talk to, from professional athletes to amateur basketball players, a solid base of muscular strength helps improve many other areas of athleticism, including power, speed and endurance. A good muscle structure will also help the body adapt and cope with stresses that other sports place upon it.
When it comes to training for all-round fitness, we advocate a mix of activities, including aerobic training, circuit training, flexibility work and classes. But, while all those activities are very important and bring different benefits, we think strength training should be one of the first sessions you pencil into your weekly planner.
If you are not already a convert to weight training and resistance work, then why not let International Women’s Day be the moment that you make this one change to your fitness routine?