Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Importance of Resistance Training For Women

More and more women these days are recognizing the benefits of resistance training. Resistance training is beneficial to just about anyone of any age, but it is especially important for women, who are at higher risk of bone problems as we age. Resistance training promotes physical activity and helps maintain a healthy body as we get older.

Lying dumbbell triceps extension
Lying dumbbell triceps extension (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But before you start lifting weights, you should know the proper way to execute the exercises. Many women may experience injuries when they incorrectly lift weights, especially if it's a new activity that hasn't been tried before. Seek the assistance of a qualified personal trainer if you are new to resistance training. If you are overweight, you'll probably want to add in some cardio exercise such as walking or interval training or jogging, as this is just as important to your overall fitness, but resistance training will help you achieve your optimal weight more quickly, and will assist in your other weight loss efforts.

Women usually do not have the natural muscle structure that most men have. They may not also have the same strength to carry heavy loads or the same resistance that men have. This discrepancy can get worse as you get older. Your body may no longer have the same strength as when you were young. Often this is simply a result of lifestyle changes. When it comes to muscle tone and function, "move it or lose it" was never more true!

You can benefit in many ways when you get into resistance training. Even if you are not an athlete or a body-building enthusiast, you can get a lot out of a good resistance training program. Having an active body and well-toned muscles can provide you more strength and endurance to perform the tasks of your daily life, as well as to participate in fun recreational activities that keep you active and fit.  

Before starting your resistance training exercises, you may want to do some stretching and warm up exercises to allow the blood nutrients go to the muscles and joints of your body. Muscle stretching also helps in lessening the risks of injuries and muscle pain after the work out. Muscles tend to get sore, and also can be strained, if you are not well warmed-up before the workout. In addition, muscle stretching improves your flexibility. You will be able to execute the exercises more comfortably and effectively.

Using the diagonal sled-type leg press machine.
Leg press machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When you are ready to lift weights, you should first work on your larger muscles, then the smaller ones. You may then finally go to the muscles that are isolated. For example, push-ups can enhance the upper muscles of the body, but before going there, you should first focus on the larger muscle groups such as those in your quads, thighs and butt. Exercises for these areas include such movements as squats, box step-ups, and lunges. You may also use the leg extension machine and the leg press machine to exercise these areas.

It is important to always remember to also work the opposing muscles. Muscles can get imbalanced if the exercises you do are not equally distributed, and this can lead to injury. For example, when performing triceps extension exercises, it is advised that you also do bicep exercises to balance it out. If you work out on the chest and the stomach area with crunches or other similar exercises, it is important that you also do back extension exercises to keep things in balance and prevent injury.

Always take a rest and do a few stretches after your resistance training workout. Drink plenty of water, and allow your muscles to cool gradually by moving around a bit. This can help prevent muscle soreness. Once you've been participating in resistance training for a while, you will find that you are more ready and physically fit for many kinds of sports and other fun activities that can enhance your life.

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