“Independence is happiness,” said the American writer Susan Brownell Anthony. Have you ever been offered help carrying your luggage or a piece of furniture? On my last trip, when I was about to put my suitcase on the upper compartment of the plane seat, a guy approached me very kindly and said: Shall I help you? I replied: Thank you, I can alone. Then I put the trolley in his place and took a seat.
There is a big difference between doing what you “can” with your body or what you want. Strength is the mother of physical abilities. In an environment in which the supposed beauty is measured in the kilos that mark a scale, strength training can be an act of rebellion. Prioritizing the function over the form would imply standing up to the industry of dissatisfaction. “If at 55 you can jump a box of 45 centimeters, forget what it weighs; think about what you are capable of doing,” I repeat to the women I train.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the World Health Organization (WHO) contemplate in their recommendations that strength training should be carried out at least two or three times a week, with exercises that mobilize the main muscle groups (such as strides , squats, push or pull gestures). However, this suggestion is far from reality, as some research admits that women could train less. If you notice, the weight rooms are full of men. Why does this happen? Bet on care, leave aside the cult. Much of the blame lies with the myths that surround this type of exercise, as necessary as it is unknown. In this decalogue you will find the reasons to start taking positions in the gym:
1. You will gain strength and muscle mass. Imagine that you live on the fifth floor without an elevator, could you carry a scooter or buy it up to that height? Think about what you are capable of doing. Being stronger not only makes everyday life easier, but the reduction of this capacity, as admitted by reviews (such as the one published by the European Journal of Sports Medicine), It is one of the major predictors of mortality in older adults.
Getting older and losing muscle mass is especially relevant, as menopause-related hormonal changes (decreased estrogen) significantly increase the risk of sarcopenia (a generalized, progressive skeletal muscle disorder involving accelerated loss of muscle mass and function which is associated with increased falls, functional impairment, frailty, and mortality). Strength training, as research shows, is the vaccine to prevent all of this.
2. It will be strong, not big. “I want a workout to tone up, not look too bulky” is a phrase I’ve heard too many times. The English terminology is bulky. This prejudice can lead to a concern that stops you when training. He won’t turn into the Hulk if he does a Press bench or squats. Studies show that relative muscle size gains are quite similar (particularly in the lower body) for both men and women after training when the intensity is matched. But it takes time, effort, and knowledge to achieve significant gains. On the other hand, women are different physiologically (hormonally and anatomically). Genetics and context also play an important role.
Women typically have about two-thirds the muscle mass of men, with a greater difference in the upper body (about half) than in the lower body (about three-quarters). They, in absolute terms, are usually stronger. The explanation is simple: due to differences in the amount of muscle mass.
3. It will improve your body composition. The body is made up of different components: water, bone, fat and muscle mass. Strength training increases your lean muscle. The more you have, the faster your metabolism will work. Muscles are like a burner natural fat. Weight training will help raise your metabolism (burn up more calories), which means reduced fat and improved body composition.
4. Prevents and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It has been recommended as a promising strategy to deal with loss of bone and muscle mass. In order to stimulate osteogenic (bone-forming) effects and favor the accumulation of bone mass, bone tissues must be exposed to a mechanical load greater than that experienced during activities of daily living.
That said, on the different training programs it has been discovered that strength training is very beneficial to preserve and increase (in case it has been lost), bone and muscle mass.
5. Reduces the risk of injury, lumbar spine discomfort and arthritis. Strength training makes connective tissue stronger and increases joint stability, thus helping to prevent injury.
6. Control of your body and mobility. Have you tried to pick up your child from the ground and failed? Strength training involves an educational component: training through movement, gestures and achieving an anatomical adaptation will make you gain body awareness without realizing it. Knowing the technique of the exercises, learning to perform them well and then performing them intensely (with a load) can help correct your posture and preserve your joint health.
7. There are no “women’s” and “men’s” exercises. Women can do the same actions and movements as a man. There should be no gender differences in the selection of gestures. You could have different preferences, but that would not imply that you are not capable of performing the same exercises. Even if they want to sell you the opposite: there are no “girl exercises”. He should train with free weights, with his own body weight and work with high intensities once the exercise technique is controlled.
8. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It can increase glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, regardless of changes in body fat or aerobic capacity, according to scientific papers.
9. State of mind. “I trained and then the problems didn’t seem so serious,” one of my girls told me after a session. Research indicates that strength training improves sleep, quality of life, and mental health. Reviews like the one published by the journal NEVER they admit that it would be a complementary therapy for depressive symptoms.
10. Perception of one’s own body image. A more positive body image is associated with better self-esteem, quality of life, physical and emotional well-being, social competence, self-care, lower rates of depression and anxiety. In this sense, strength training has been associated with significant improvements in several dimensions of body image, healthy conception of exercise, satisfaction and comfort with one’s own body.
11. Autonomy and functionality. Being in shape is getting the years to pass and preserving your independence, this comes hand in hand with an increase in strength, as indicated by the meta-analysis published by sports medicine.
Think of each strength exercise (squats, lunges, pushes or pulls) as a means to be able to carry out actions of daily life: getting up from a chair, running or climbing the stairs. Lose your fear and stop the myth. There is space for you in the weight rooms. Strength training is empowerment, freedom and autonomy. Strength makes it possible for the years to go by, to go on a trip, carry your suitcase and say: I can do it alone.
From the theory to the practice
1. Professional help. Internet exercises are just the loose pieces of a puzzle. See a physical activity professional who will assess and prescribe training. What you see on social networks is only a part of a whole. A piece of the puzzle never completes it.
2. Prepare to learn. Having selected the exercises, you need to learn how to perform them with the correct technique. You will get to know your body, while avoiding injuries. First move well, then make it more intense, otherwise you start the house from the roof.
3. Enjoyment and expectations management. If the process is not enjoyed, the goals are abandoned. Manage and find realistic expectations. Avoid comparing yourself. Be wary of what promises quick results, with little effort and in a certain time. Training is like a garden: a seed is planted and its harvest does not occur the next day. The same thing happens with exercise.
4. Do it for yourself and take time. A well-designed workout doesn’t have to take hours. More is not better. Excuses are the main enemies of results. If you would never let your mobile phone battery run out, you shouldn’t let your health run out either. Reserve a sustainable slot in your schedule for your self-care. Train for you. Train for self love.
The American College of Sports Medicine makes the following recommendations in its guidelines when carrying out strength training:
- You can use weights, machines or bands.
- Perform 8 to 10 multi-joint exercises involving major muscle groups.
- Perform 2-3 series of 8-12 repetitions with good technique.
- Raise and lower the weight in a controlled manner.
- The last repetition should be more difficult to complete.
- Perform the training 2-3 times a week.
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Source: EL PAIS