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Strength Training is For Women Too!

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You might think strength training is just for men. Maybe you're worried that you'll bulk up if you lift weights. But in reality, strength training reduces body fat and increases lean muscle mass, helping your body burn calories more efficiently. Don’t worry about bulking up — you'll actually look thinner because your muscles will be better toned. And increased lean muscle mass will provide you with a bigger "engine" to burn calories.

With strength training, you'll look great and you'll feel great. But that's not the only positive side effect. Strong muscles will help you maintain balance and coordination. With extra muscle power working behind the scenes, you'll feel revitalized and have more energy to finish all of the items on your daily to-do list.

Regular strength training will also help you:

Increase your strength and stability. Strong muscles enhance your ability to move and lift things.

Maintain and increase your bone mineral density. Working your body with weights increases bone density and decreases your risk of osteoporosis. When bone is stressed appropriately through muscle movement, it gets stronger.

Control body fat by boosting your metabolic rate. When you lose muscle, your body gradually becomes less efficient at burning calories. That's because muscle burns three times more calories than fat does. The more muscle mass your body has, the more efficiently and quickly it burns calories, even when you're at rest.

Reduce your risk of injury. Building muscle protects your joints from injury during aerobic exercise and in normal daily activities. Strength training also helps protect your lower back and keep it healthy.

Improve your overall body image. Studies suggest that women who strength train feel more self-confident and have an improved body image.

Consider the sobering alternative — if you don't use your muscles, you lose your muscles. Muscle mass diminishes with age, and your muscles will shrink if they're not used. Especially important for older women, strength training decreases your risk of falls and increases your strength and stability, helping you maintain your independence — reason enough to begin a strength-training program.