Women in Sport: Ladies – it’s time to stand up – Lauren Mullane
IF you are reading this – this is your sign to pick up a bar!
Historically, weightlifting was a form of exercise that women avoided for fear of “getting too fat” or getting muscular. Women’s strength sports didn’t even begin to be recognized until the 1980s, when female weightlifters, bodybuilders, strong women, and weightlifting were recognized.
However, the long-standing stigma surrounding women and weightlifting is starting to fade. The myths that lifting weights will make you “bulky” and “masculine” are contradicted by the many strong women who practice Crossfit, Powerlifting, and other forms of strength training. (Even your favorite Instagram star lifts weights – I guarantee that!)
With these myths finally dispelled, women are starting to reap the many benefits of bodybuilding.
As women we have much lower testosterone levels than men, so it is almost impossible for us to gain excess “male” and “bulky” muscle by weight training twice a week. In fact, you’ll get the toned physique you desire much faster by picking up a bar than hitting the treadmill with your pink 1kg dumbbells!
Strength training in women leads to increased lean muscle mass and a resting metabolic rate which in turn burns more calories!
Besides the aesthetic benefits, there are also many health benefits of weight training. Strength training improves your cardiovascular health, lowers bad cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Many women are reluctant to lift for fear of injury, although in fact lifting weights properly can reduce the risk of injury, back pain, and arthritis. Weightlifting improves bone density and may be a woman’s best defense against osteoporosis.
The best benefit of all is to get stronger, both physically and mentally. Lifting weights can be a great stress reliever and an outlet for improving your mental health. Strength training is proven to improve cognitive function and reduce levels of anxiety and depression.
Being stronger at the gym is amazing, but it also means getting stronger in everyday activities, like picking up the kids or carrying the shopping bags.
For me, getting stronger has been a big confidence boost! Lifting weights is a challenge and feeling stronger every week builds confidence and self-esteem. Hire a trainer, coach or join a class and start your journey to becoming a stronger woman!