Ask Heidi Corbett: How Can Women Benefit From Strength Training?
Performance specialist Heidi Corbett knows that women aren’t always comfortable in the weight room, but she’s got some great reasons to set hesitancy aside and give weights a try.
If you are a woman, the weight room may not be an appealing place to pursue fitness. Clanging weights and complex equipment can be intimidating. But performance specialist Heidi Corbett loves to help women develop confidence through strength training—and explains how the benefits can be life changing.
“Weight training is empowering,” Heidi explains. “It’s a way to push past your mental barriers, and breaking barriers is fun. When you increase your reps or the amount of weight you can lift, you build your confidence and realize that you can do so much more than you thought you could.”
Confidence is only one of the benefits of strength training for women.
- Physically, weight training helps to increase bone density to fight osteoporosis or osteopenia. Training with weights also increases a woman’s balance and stability, which reduces the risk of a fall-related injury.
- Building muscle mass contributes to weight loss. “When you increase your muscle mass, you also increase your metabolism,” Heidi notes. “The muscle you build creates more tissue for which your body has to provide energy; strength training can help you burn more calories at rest than you would if you did cardio training alone. Even if you aren’t losing weight, building muscle sculpts your body—which can help clothes fit better.”
- One immediate effect of weight training is its ability to improve your mood by increasing endorphins.
- Strength training helps to reduce the risk of health problems that affect women. “It lowers blood pressure as well as risks of diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease—the number one killer of women,” Heidi explains.
- Strengthening muscle is a very safe form of exercise. When weight lifting is done correctly, it has a very low risk of injury compared to sports like running.
- Increasing muscle mass can help prevent injuries of hips and ankles. “When you have stronger muscles, there’s less stress on joints,” Heidi observes. “Strength training also puts stress on the bone, which improves the density and strength of the bone itself. This makes strength training an injury-reducing benefit for women who also enjoy high-impact activities like running.”
Heidi encourages women to begin strength training by working with a personal trainer or performance specialist. “If you feel intimidated, a guide can explain how equipment works and show you how to use it,” she says. “I start my clients slowly; the last thing I want is to discourage them! It’s important to begin one step at a time. Get familiar with the exercises and understand their purpose. It takes time to build muscle, but you can start feeling an improvement in mood immediately. Gradual positive steps in strength training can lead to significant health gains over time.”
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