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Strength Unveiled: The Surprising Link Between Women's Fitness and Longevity

More Than Simply Sculpting

New research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology unveils a groundbreaking discovery: strength training offers women benefits that extend well beyond the aesthetic appeal of being "toned." The study revealed women who engage in strength training 2-3 days per week showed a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular mortality by a staggering 30%. Director of preventive cardiology at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, Martha Gulati, explains the rarity of such significant health interventions, stating, “we don't have many things that reduce mortality in that way." 

We know that strength training has long boasted benefits such as increasing bone and joint health, improving metabolic function and boosting mood. However, the reduction in mortality risk showcases strength training as more than just a fitness activity, it is a life-saving regimen. A single strength training session packs a punch by stimulating muscle growth and strengthening the cardiovascular system. 

Despite numerous health benefits, building muscle has been falsely perceived as men's domain, solidifying the belief that women should aspire to a more dainty physique. But time and time again our personal training clients say strengthening muscles has been “life-changing." Everyday actions like lifting groceries, taking out the trash, and prolonged sitting on the floor while playing with children are no longer a struggle. Strength training empowers us to be more present and active with the people we love. 

Implementing Strength Training Into Everyday Life

When it comes to reaping the benefits, a little can go a long way. The research shows that women actually need less exercise to get the same gains as men. Just 2-3 days per week is enough for women to increase life-span. So where do we begin? Here are 3 ways to start making strides toward a longer, stronger life: 1. Keep it simple. You don’t need a lot of props or fancy equipment to build strength. If you’re already a member of a gym you can start using weight machines, which often have simple, guided instructions and images that teach you how to use them. But if you’re schedule only allows for a quick workout at home, simple equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands, are excellent tools for those who want to make strength gains and are short on time. Even without the props, doing simple bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups will strengthen muscles. The most important thing is that we get moving! 

2. Follow this sample home workout 

  • Squats: 2-3 sets 60-90 seconds

  • Hinges: 2-3 sets; 60-90 seconds

  • Push-ups: 2-3 sets, 60-90 seconds 

  • Bent Over Rows: 2-3 sets, 60-90 seconds (using a milk jug, or heavy book if you do not have dumbbells at home)

  • Plank: 2-3 sets of 20-60 seconds

This simple total-body workout strengthens the muscles of the lower body, upper body, and core. Perform each exercise until you begin to approach muscle failure, which is key for building strength. (You’ll know you’re approaching failure when your tempo slows down, or you start having to rest in between reps). If you can continue performing reps of an exercise after 90 seconds, that’s a sign you’re ready to increase the load by adding weight, or if you don’t have weights at home, perform a 1-3 second isometric hold at the bottom of the rep to increase intensity and continue to stimulate muscle growth. 

3. Book a personal training session. If you’re looking for a way to take the guesswork out of planning your workouts, the best thing you can do is schedule an introductory training session with a trusted professional. Working with a trainer ensures each exercise is done safely and effectively so that you get the most benefit from each workout. Plus, professional guidance will help decrease the likelihood of overuse injuries caused by repetitive movement, while ensuring strength gains.

We utilize the strength of our muscles daily, and just 2-3 days per week of strength training has a profound influence on the length and quality of life. Not only will everyday movements feel easier, but you’ll increase the likelihood of living a longer, stronger life. If you have questions or are ready to incorporate strength training into your routine, reach out to us at Amanda Boike Fitness and we’ll get you started on your journey to a happier, healthier life. 

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