[Women and health] My love affair with weights
Sunday August 14, 2016,
4 min Read
Pretty much like any love affair, mine started in my late twenties with trepidation and excitement in my veins. My love affair with weights.
As a 100m sprinter, basketball player, and the school sports captain, all my life I’ve pretty much been an outdoor person. My total ineptness at a snooker table is a testimony to that.
My only indoor tryst with fitness is weights. I approached weights with curiosity and I started slow, like getting to know the weights and how my body would respond to them. Due to the initial rush of endorphins and in my enthusiasm to woo weights, I may have overdone my initial lifting and as soon I was laid down, I knew I’d be stuck with a sore back.
Slowly and steadily, I eventually built my relationship with weights.
“You will bulk up like a man”: This is not possible, simply because I am a woman. It is primarily testosterone that is responsible for muscle building, and because women don’t possess anywhere near as much of it as men, muscle mass is not as easy to put on. So do not fear, you won’t be starring in the next Hulk movie.
“I will put on weight once I stop”: Absolutely not. You do not gain weight if you stop weights. When you’re hitting the weights, you gain some extra muscles which, if you stop training, will start to go off. This is because your daily movement/activity has been reduced. This is not only true for weight lifting, but any sort of physical activity.
“You will never lose weight”: On the contrary, you will lose 40 percent more fat. Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups — no exercise, aerobic exercise only, and aerobic exercise and weight training — and found that though they all lost around 21 pounds, the lifters were more successful at losing weight. The weightlifters in the study dropped six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.
“Your muscles will sag once you stop lifting”: Muscle cannot turn into fat. However, dropping caloric expenditure and removing the need for the body to maintain muscle without adjusting the calories consumed will cause your body to lose muscle and gain fat almost simultaneously. This gives the impression that muscle has turned to fat.
Well, none of the above mentioned myths proved to be true. What happened was that I found my waist again, my shoulders and back got chiselled, and I have arms that can compete with Michelle Obama’s.
I can safely say that post 30, women should do weights and here are the top three reasons why:
A healthy heart: According to the American Health Association, strength training reduces the risk of heart diseases and has been considered to be a salubrious form of exercise for those at risk. The risk factors involved in heart diseases include high triglycerides, elevated glucose levels, a large waist circumference, and elevated blood pressure. According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, those who lift weights are less likely to contract the above mentioned ailments.
Healthy bones: As they age, women are prone to osteoporosis and can be at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Since the body no longer secretes oestrogen, postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis. Strength training is the perfect way to combat loss of bone mass, and in that vein, it reduces the risk of osteoporosis. McMaster University conducted a study and what they found was that after a year of resistance training, postmenopausal women showed an increase of nine percent in their spinal bone mass. The crux of the matter is that the earlier you begin resistance training, greater are the chances of you maintaining healthy bones later in life.
Stress management: We are aware that exercise in general is an effective way to combat stress. It is found (and there are many researches to ascertain these finds) that those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations compared to those who do not exercise.
In addition, resistance-training studies conducted on older adults show that moderate intensity weightlifting improves memory and cognitive function, not to forget quality sleep and increased energy and vigour, which are addeded benefits of lifting weights
My affair is two decades old and I’m still in love and physically satisfied and continue to be in a committed relationship. Sorry guys, but this is for you: watch me lift, watch me whey whey….
I can imagine myself pursuing my fervent love affair with weights with this revised version playing on my wireless headphones.
So for all the naysayers, please come and fall in love with weights.