Today's post was inspired by some of the myths I've seen around the internet surrounding why women shouldn't lift weights. There's so much misinformation that isn't based on science. It's maddening sometimes. I thought I'd write a post about 5 reasons women should lift weights. Obviously there's more than 5 reasons, and those reasons vary for each individual, but I thought I'd share the big ones for me.
Being stronger makes a difference in activities of daily lifting // Having that strength when you need it really come in handy. Activities of daily living are non-fitness related things that you do everyday. Whether it's rearranging furniture, carrying groceries into the house, or picking up a toddler, having that strength there when you need it makes a huge difference. You'll notice that things will become easier to do.
It gives you confidence // Lifting heavy things gives you confidence. It makes you realize you're able to do things that might seem big and scary. Going for my deadlift PR was definitely intimidating, but when I did it, I felt so good about myself. Especially when it comes to getting new PR's, it gives you a tangible way of seeing all your workouts pay off. I was surprised at how much confidence I got from lifting. It was totally unexpected.
It WILL NOT make you bulky // There's a persisting myth that if women lift heavy they'll get bulky. That is absolutely not the case. Women just don't have high enough levels of testosterone for their muscles to get that big. It's just not physiologically possible. Of course there are people who will use unhealthy means (steroids) to get a particular look, but for the most part it's not something that you should worry about. A fear of becoming too bulky shouldn't stop you from getting into the squat rack.
Stress relief // A big part of lifting for me is blowing off steam. When I step into the squat rack all I'm focused on is the lift I'm doing. I'm not stressing about the big paper I have to finish or the event I have to do public speaking at. I'm one of those people who carries tension in my chest, shoulders, and neck. It's nearly impossible for those areas to be tight and have good lifting form. By the time I'm done, those areas are usually feeling pretty good. The post-workout endorphin rush feels pretty good too.
The squat rack isn't as intimidating as it looks // The squat rack can be a pretty intimidating thing if you've never been in one before. I know it was for me. Luckily once you've used it a few times it loses it's intimidation factor. Ask a staff member at your gym to show you how to set up the squat rack. Have a friend who lifts? Workout together and get them to show you the basics. Or sign up for a few sessions with a personal trainer and get some ideas for workouts. Once you know how to adjust it and use it properly it won't be nearly as scary.
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Do you lift weights? What's your favorite reason to lift?