Dr. Phil Shares: 10 Reasons Why Weight Lifting Is Great for Women

10 Reasons Why Weight Lifting Is Great for Women

10 Benefits of Strength Training for Women

When you’re weight training, you shouldn’t rely exclusively on the scale to gauge your progress. You can use a body fat tester or a tape measure to track how many inches you’re losing.

The size of your body will shrink as you shed fat and build muscle, but your weight may not change as dramatically as you expect. Besides, what’s more important, the number on the scale or how you look in selfies?

If you’re still not convinced that you need to lift weights, here are 10 reasons you should reconsider.

1. Burn More Fat

Researchers at Tufts University found that when overweight women lifted heavy weights twice a week, they lost an average of 14.6 pounds of fat and gained 1.4 pounds of muscle.

The control group, women who dieted but didn’t lift weights, lost only 9.2 pounds of fat and gained no muscle.

When you do an intense weight-training program, your metabolism stays elevated and you continue to burn fat for several hours after working out. During regular cardio exercise, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.

2. Change Your Body Shape

You may think your genes determine how you look. That’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves, and help avoid the “middle-age spread.”

So, no, you won’t bulk up — women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do. If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat.

3. Boost Your Metabolism

The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss.

Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

4. Get Stronger and More Confident

Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in 6 months. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

5. Build Strong Bones

It’s been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight.

Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.

6. Improve Mood

You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help improve mood; weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training.

7. Improve Sports Fitness

You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing… whatever sport you enjoy.

8. Reduce Injuries 

Weightlifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life.

It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis. A study conducted at the University of Wales in Bangor, United Kingdom, found that mildly disabled participants who lifted weights for 12 weeks increased the frequency and intensity at which they could work, with less pain and increased range of movement.

9. Get Heart Healthy

More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping.

Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that people who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.

10. Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

In addition to keeping your ticker strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Is Your Heart in Alignment?

If you are feeling anxious, have troubles sleeping or can’t seem to get your timing right, then your Heart and Spirit may be out of sync. You see, when the Heart does not get enough Yin or Blood, it lacks substance and then it cannot anchor the Spirit, causing the mind to wander.

heartcharkra

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Heart stores the Spirit. When the Heart and the Spirit are in harmony, one sleeps well, speaks kindly with compassion and their intentions and actions are shared, as the moment is right.

The Heart is also regulates the flow of blood, and when the Heart Qi and Blood are abundant and flowing, the pulse will be even and regular. The majority of Heart problems are a result of imbalance in other systems as the Heart relies on other organs for its nourishment and energy.

heartmeridian
picture from pinterest.com

Treating other organs to reduce heat and nourish Yin are also ways of ultimately supporting the smooth flow of Qi and Blood to the Heart.You may trace the acupuncture heart meridian by starting at your axilla (arm pit) and travel down along the inner aspect of your bicep, across the inside of your elbow, and go along your inner forearm toward and off the inside of your pinky finger.

By treating the heart channel with acupuncture, your mind will calm (reduce sadness fear, anxiety, hypertension, mental restlessness), your heat will clear (treat dry mouth, red eyes), and you will feel invigorated as we tonify Heart Qi and stimulate Heart Blood.

Another tool I use in clinic is a Heartmath monitor. With this we can see how thoughts can change the rhythm of your heart rate. We can also see how regulating the breath while going into a pleasant memory can bring the mind and the body into complete balance. This is something, which over a period of sessions and practice at home, can help you learn to bring yourself into a calm, peaceful state without any drugs or supplements.

Sometimes to help stimulate the body’s own innate mechanisms to heal I will prescribe a botanical short term to help calm the mind and nourish the Yin. This can help while the acupuncture is doing its thing and you are learning how to balance your energies with your breath and your thoughts. Nourishment in the diet can also help build Blood and strengthen the Heart, and we talk about this too.

So if you are feeling anxious, have troubles sleeping or can’t seem to get your timing right, maybe it is time to come in for an alignment of a different sort – one that has the love and care for your Heart and Spirit.

From the heart and mind of your local Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 

 

 

Should You Work Out on an Empty Stomach?

Should You Work Out on an Empty Stomach

Blood flow isn’t the only issue here. Even if you wanted to knock out some plyo while macking on a Royale with cheese, your body has ways to actively sabotage your efforts, and it isn’t afraid to use them. It’s primary method of action: Your nervous system.

At the risk of over-generalizing, your nervous system has two sides. Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for “fight or flight” functions. It kicks in when you’re under stress (e.g., during hard exercise), releasing a cascade of hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol that prime your body for action. Your parasympathetic nervous system, meanwhile, is in charge of your “rest and digest” functions. It’s also responsible for healing.

The problem is that when your sympathetic system kicks in, it shuts down your parasympathetic system, including anything that isn’t mission critical for the task at hand. Have you ever had to urinate when something stressful popped up, causing you to completely forget about your need to whiz? That’s your sympathetic nervous system in action, and it treats your digestive process the same way. Since the food in your stomach doesn’t provide an immediate survival benefit—and yes, your body assumes your life is at stake if you’re exerting yourself strenuously (why else would you do something like that?)— it hits the kill button on digestion to support your attempt to fight or flee. If you’re walking or cycling leisurely, you’re fine—you’ll continue to digest what you ate. But if the going gets tough, your digestion stops going. Whatever is in your tummy will just sit there—and you’ll probably feel it.

Don’t confuse exercising on an empty stomach with training in a fasted state. An empty stomach means you’ve given yourself enough time to adequately digest your food. That can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the size of your meal. Being in a fasted state means you’ve gone without eating for somewhere on the order of 12 hours (typically overnight). At this point, your food has not only been digested, but the fuel it supplied has been largely depleted, leaving your blood sugar low and your liver glycogen wanting. In this situation, your metabolism shifts and you’re more prone to burn fat—but the benefit has more to do with athletic performance than weight loss.

Timing your pre-exercise feeding to avoid these conflicts is easy. The general rule is to wait 3 hours after a full, balanced meal. Wait 2 hours after a lighter meal where the nutritional balance is skewed toward carbs (e.g., half a turkey sandwich and a glass of juice). Wait 1 hour after a similarly carb-rich snack, such as a glass of chocolate milk. For anything less than an hour, keep your snack below 100 calories and focus on fast-absorbing carbs (e.g., half a banana).

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks to beachbody.com