Women in Sport: Ladies - it's time to get lifting - Lauren Mullane

Women in Sport: Ladies - it's time to get lifting - Lauren Mullane

IF you’re reading this - this is your sign to pick up a barbell!

Historically, weightlifting was a form of exercise that women shied away from for fear of ‘getting too big’ or muscular. Female strength sports did not even begin to be recognised until the 80’s, when female powerlifters, bodybuilders, strongwomen and weightlifting gained recognition.

However, the longstanding stigma surrounding women and weightlifting is beginning to subside. The myths that lifting weights will make you ‘bulky’ and ‘masculine’ are being contradicted by the many strong women engaging in Crossfit, Powerlifting and other forms of strength training. (Even your favourite Instagram star is lifting weights - I guarantee it!)

With these myths finally being negated, women are beginning to reap the many benefits of lifting weights.

As women, we have much lower levels of testosterone than men, so it is nearly impossible for us to gain excessive ‘masculine’ and ‘bulky’ muscle from weight training a couple of times a week. In fact, you will get the toned physique that you desire a lot quicker by picking up a barbell than hitting the treadmill with your 1kg pink dumbbells!

Strength training in women leads to increased lean muscle mass and resting metabolic rate which in turn burns more calories!

Apart from the aesthetic benefits, strength training also has many health benefits. Strength training improves your cardiovascular health, lowering bad cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Many women shy away from lifting weights in fear of injury, although in fact, lifting weights correctly can actually reduce your risk of injury, back pain and arthritis. Weightlifting leads to improved bone density and can be a women’s best defence against osteoporosis.

The best benefit of all is getting stronger, both physically and mentally. Lifting weights can be a great stress relief and an outlet for improving your mental health too. Strength training is proven to improve cognitive function as well as reduce levels of anxiety and depression.

Getting stronger in the gym feels amazing, but it also means getting stronger in everyday activities, like picking up the kids or carrying the shopping bags.

For me, getting stronger was a major confidence booster! Lifting weights is a challenge and feeling yourself getting stronger each week builds confidence and self esteem. Hire a trainer, coach or join a class and begin your journey to becoming a stronger woman!

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