Why every woman should be pumping iron

barbell
I know there are many ladies who avoid lifting weights, or use just 5 pound dumbbells. I was once one of those women. As much as they have heard it isn't so, they can't help thinking they will look too manly if they lift heavy weights. Well, as a reformed "girly" exerciser, let me assure you, I don't look manly! The bodybuilding women with greasy muscles are just sexy and toned when they aren't ready for competition. They train off all their non-essential fat to compete and look so sculpted. And, when they aren't flexing in the poses, they have feminine curves.
The average woman lifting weight can expect to trim and shape her figure, and who wouldn't love that? So, with that fear out of the way, here are 5 reasons that every girl should be pumping iron:

1. First of all, being stronger can protect you from injury. When done correctly, building strength starts with strengthening the core musculature.  That will protect your back and neck from injury in your daily activities, including sitting at a desk. As you progress to working arms and legs, that will further protect your back by safe lifting and more efficient everyday movements. Strong muscles and proper form will additionally protect your knees if you ever choose to run or play a sport, even if its just with your kids or grand kids.

2. Muscles are calorie burning machines! You burn more calories just by the simple fact of having more muscle. All day long, and all night too, your body uses just a bit more calories then without those hungry muscles. It is a small increase, but in the long run, every little bit helps. The exercise increases your metabolism also, so that's a win-win!

3. Protection from osteoporosis. During menopause, you will actually begin to lose bone mass due to the decrease in estrogen production. The loss amounts to about 3-5% per year during early premenopause, according to the NIH (National Institutes of Health). Resistance exercise and weight bearing activity like walking or dancing, help the bones to take in the circulating calcium, and strengthen bones. You do need to ensure that you are taking in enough calcium so that it is available. For premenopausal women that is about 1200 mg, or 3 to 4 servings of dairy per day. Its also important that you get some sun exposure for the vitamin D that aids calcium absorption.

4. Building muscle gives shape to your curves. The adipose tissue covering the muscle takes on the shape that lies beneath. This creates a more flattering fit to your clothes, and cinches in the waistline as you tighten up the core.

5. My final tip to persuade you to begin lifting weights is that it builds confidence as well. As you become stronger, your posture improves and your body shapes up. This will give you a surge of pride in your accomplishments. That confidence can translate into improved relationships or job satisfaction as you shed timidity. The benefits of your improved confidence will be seen in all areas of your well being.

Are you motivated to get started? Not so fast. Make sure that you are properly educated on safely training with weights. Check out some books or DVDs, or find a trustworthy YouTube channel to learn some good basic moves. Having a personal trainer is the best way to get great results without hurting yourself. And of course, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

You can certainly challenge yourself without using barbells and expensive machines. Push ups and squats are wonderful to start. Resistance bands offer another economical and space saving option, as is a kettlebell. Keep these options in mind when you are away from home, if you do usually use gym equipment.