3 Reasons Why Women Need to Pump Iron
If you've been skipping the weight room in favour of an all-cardio workout, it's time to rethink your fitness strategy. Pumping iron is important for overall health as well as for stronger bones.
"In modern society, our lifestyles are too sedentary and there isn't enough 'work' built into daily living. This is why there's a need for a structured program at the gym or at home involving lifting weights or other strong resistance training," says Ariella Tsafatinos, CEO of FitnessWorks for Women. When you incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your workout routine, you build up a body that's more resistant to the injuries that are often caused by bone loss.
Here, the three top reasons you should pump up your weight routine now.
1. You'll build bone density to fend off osteoporosis
Bones, like muscles, are living tissues and continuously build up and break down over time. Losing bone mass happens when the breakdown is faster than the buildup, which can occur after menopause or if you're low in calcium, smoke or don't exercise.
"When we lose bone mass, we become frail. This leads to a vicious cycle," says Tsafatinos. "Increased frailty leads to increased fear of injury. Fear of injury leads to performing less activity or exercise, which leads to more bone loss."
Make sure you steer clear of this detrimental cycle before it's too late. Osteoporosis can take a huge toll on independence and quality of life. The good news is, we can keep it at bay. "Osteoporosis is preventable in most cases with proper diet and an active lifestyle," says Tsafatinos.
2. You'll maintain good posture to avoid aches and pains
"Another vicious cycle of bone loss is the changing shape of our vertebrae and, hence, our posture," says Tsafatinos. "We have all seen people who walk hunched over." Poor posture results in back pain and an increased risk of falling. Keeping both your bones and core muscles strong through resistance training will help ensure proper posture at any age.
3. You'll improve joint stability to ensure mobility throughout life
The body is like an interconnected machine; our muscles need to be strong in order to protect the joints they surround. Our ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and vertebrae are supported by connective and muscle tissue.
"Without the muscles that support those joints, we would all be rag dolls and in need of assistance just to get out of bed," says Tsafatinos. "The more strength and stability we have around our joints, the less risk we have of injury as we go about our daily tasks." So a good weights routine will keep you moving well, too.