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Why women need strength training

Time and again, research has shown that women who do strength training regularly enjoy a long list of health benefits. Some women still fear that strength training will make them unfeminine; however, once women of all ages realize the benefits of resistance training, the negative thoughts quickly fade. Here are ten key reasons why women should take strength training seriously:

You lose more fat than you gain muscle
Research shows that the average woman who exercises two to three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.45 pounds of lean weight or muscle and loses 3.5 pounds of fat. Unlike men, women usually do not gain weight through strength training, because compared to men, women have ten to thirty times fewer hormones that cause muscle mass.

Your new muscles prevent obesity Since you gain muscle from strength training, your resting metabolism will increase, so you'll burn more calories throughout the day. For every pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 calories daily. For example, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories per pound, you'll burn an extra 120 calories per day, or about 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in a year!

You will be a stronger woman
Studies indicate that moderate strength training increases a woman's strength by 30 to 50 percent. Extra strength makes it easier to do some daily activities, such as lifting children or shopping. Most differences in strength between men and women can be explained by differences in body size and fat mass; women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.

There are benefits for your bones
By the time you graduate from high school, you'll have all the bone density you'll ever have—unless you're strength training. Research has shown that strength training can increase spinal bone density by 13 percent in six months. So strength training is a powerful tool against osteoporosis.

You will reduce the risk of diabetes Adult diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research shows that strength training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.

You have less risk of heart disease Strength training will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure, according to research. Of course, your training regime should also include cardiovascular exercise and flexibility training.

It relieves pain
A 12-year study showed that strengthening the lower back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating lower back pain. Other studies have shown that strength training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.

You will be a better athlete
Strength training improves athletic skills. Whatever your favorite sport, strength training can not only improve your ability but also reduce your risk of injury.

It works no matter how old you are
Studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age.

You strengthen your mental health
A study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard therapy. Women who do strength training often report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program.