A well meaning, concerned lady at the gym spotted me doing a 60 kg barbell squat. Anxiously she asked, if I was not going to get Gynecological issues by doing heavy squats. She had known that women MUST NOT lift heavy weights as it causes damage to their uterus. Many others also worry that I will start looking like a man, if I lift heavy.
I am not looking to be a body builder or a physique athlete. I am just like you who wants to have a healthy life to enjoy with family and loved ones. So, this is what I explained to her:
- Weight training enhances bone density in women. To show a significant impact on bone density, the exercise intensity (strain magnitude) must be higher than the minimum effective strain threshold of bone. So, to see benefit, the load has to be higher than what our bone is used to and it has to progressively increase as bone adapts to the new load by increasing the threshold.
- Strong muscles provide better support to joints and thus provide relief from knee pain, back pain and pain of other joints.
- Weight training has shown to impact blood lipid profile and blood sugar levels positively. Increase in HDL levels and cellular uptake of sugar (reducing diabetes) were observed if regular exercise intensity levels exceeded 80% HR Max. These benefits were not observed when the intensity levels were lower. (Intensity in weight training equates to the amount of load.)
- Weight training increases strength which helps in better balance and stability. It helps especially as we age and encounter fall and injury due to muscular weakness.
*Note*: Load need not just come from free weights – barbells, dumbbells. Our own body weight can be used creatively as a load to strengthen our body.
Though lifting heavy has immense benefits, lifting wrong can quickly reverse the situation putting you at risk of injury. Hence it is important to follow some guidelines as you start. In my next article, I will cover those guidelines. Stay tuned …
Women’s Health Mastery – Starter kit is my step by step coaching system for women who are looking to enhance their vitality, reclaim their youth and aspire to live a life of their dreams. To know more please visit: https://school.navitae.com/p/women-s-health-mastery-starter-kit
Certified Health and Fitness Coach, ISSA, USA
Women’s Fitness Specialist, NASM, USA