Why you should lift, especially Women
More Muscle = More calories burned
It takes more energy (calories) for your body to maintain muscle cells than it does fat cells. Every pound of muscle burns 3 times more calories than every pound of fat. Therefore, by lifting weights to add more muscle mass, you’ll boost your metabolism and turn your body into a more efficient fat-burning machine. Since muscle mass is more metabolically expensive than fat, you can eat more food and enjoy more frequent meals. Overall, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.
That hour you spent on the treadmill is the equivalent to the calories burned in 20 min of lifting. When you lift weights with intensity, you’re burning fat and calories. Plus, you receive the benefits of the after-burn affect or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which means you’re burning calories all day long, even after your gym session is over. The after-burn effect occurs because your metabolism rate increases, and your body spends energy to repair the microtears in your muscle that build you a lean, solid foundation. But when you do cardio only, once the cardio session is over the fat burning stops.
Fight against Osteoporosis
The best defense against Osteoporosis is lifting weights. Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about 80% are women. Estrogen is the hormone in women that protects bones, however, and when women go through menopause estrogen drops dramatically which can cause bone loss. This puts women at a great risk for fractures and breaking bones. About one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. To minimize the risk of developing osteoporosis begin lifting weight with intensity. You will build muscle mass, increase or maintain your bone density, and increase your strength, which will help you later in life.
Personally, when I am on the treadmill, I am usually trying to zone out either by watching TV or being on social media. Consistently going to the gym just to hop on a treadmill or elliptical can be so mundane; I sometimes feel like a hamster in cage just spinning on its wheel. However, when you are weight training you are forced to focus on form, tempo, breathing, and rep count. These little sessions of mental practice help your mind become sharper.
As humans we come in many shapes and sizes and many of us are not very symmetrical but like everything in life, we try to find balance. Lifting weight is going to exchange your fat mass for lean muscle mass making you tighter and denser. Putting muscle on your body is going to give you curves, more of asymmetrical body shape, and change the way you fit into your clothes; cardio alone will not. Although, cardio is important, lifting weight will add curves to your body and give you amazing legs that you will want to show off in your favorite pair of jeans.