Are you skeptical about weight training? Do you think it’s too hard or that it’ll bulk you up? Perhaps, you just find cardio exercise to be a better use of your precious workout time. For a lot of women, the answer to these questions  is “YES” and, as a result, many stay away from weight training altogether. 

But, in spite of what many women believe, this type of training is absolutely critical for weight loss, long-term weight management, and overall good health. Here are eight reasons why.

1. Preserves Muscle Mass

Weight training is the only way to preserve muscle mass. No matter your size, it is muscle mass that gives your body a more sleek, firm, yet shapely appearance. Forget about your worries of bulking up. The male hormone testosterone is responsible for the development of large muscles and the average woman simply doesn’t produce enough.

In fact, most women are incapable of bulking up without the use of some extraneous supplementation.

Related Article: 5 Reasons Why Resistance Training Is Necessary for Weight Loss

2. Elevates Metabolic Rate

Believe it or not just one moderate-to-high-intensity weight training bout can elevate your metabolic rate for up to 12 hours. Also known as “metabolism”, this is essentially the rate at which your body inherently burns calories. When your metabolic rate is elevated, you’ll burn more calories during any given activity, even rest.

So, over time, frequent bouts of weight training can greatly enhance your body’s overall calorie-burning potential.

Related Article: The Important Role of Metabolism in Weight Loss

3. Improves Cardiovascular Function

Since muscles themselves play an integral role in circulatory functions, preserving them with weight training is a critical step for sustained cardiovascular health. Weight training improves the structure and function of blood vessels, which naturally enhances circulation to the heart, brain, and other vital organs in the body.

A healthy circulatory system greatly protects against chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Related Article: How to Lift Weights Without Bulking Up

4. Decreases Body Flab

The appearance of body flab is common after a significant amount of weight is lost with dieting and/or excessive amounts of cardio exercise. Dieting and cardio can both lead to reductions in body water, fat, and muscle. Since muscle largely contributes to the body’s shape and form, any losses in muscle mass can result in excessive flab around your body.

Building and/or maintaining your muscle with weight training is the only way to counter this.

Related Article: How to Lose Weight Without Getting Flabby Skin

5. Sculpts the Body

When coupled with cardio exercise and sensible eating, weight training is the absolute best method for sculpting the perfect body. Whether you want a bigger butt or a firmer, shapelier bust line, weight training is the only non-invasive, non-surgical method by which you can make your body look the way you want it to look.

Trust me, the arms of Angela Bassett weren’t built on a treadmill or an elliptical machine.

Related Article: How to Lose the Gut and Not the Butt

6. Improves Balance, Posture and Stability

Weight training increases muscular strength and endurance, both of which are critical for the maintenance of proper posture, balance, and stability. This holds especially true for the muscles surrounding your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen.

Related Article: Building a Sculpted Lower Body

In fact, adequate strength and endurance in these muscles is necessary for the simplest of everyday activities from walking up and down stairs to lifting children to carrying groceries.

7. Reduces Premature Aging

Weight training has notable anti-aging effects. For instance, this type of training is known to counter excess free radical damage in the body, which is one of the most well-known culprits of premature aging and related-disease onset. In addition, it increases bone mineral density, which greatly reduces the risk of common bone-related ailments among aging women like back pain, fractures, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Related Article: Osteoporosis: What It Is and How to Prevent and Treat It

Age-associated declines in muscle are also significantly reduced with regular weight training. Unbeknownst to many, muscle mass naturally starts to decrease after the age of 30. This is a common reason for age-associated weight gain.

8. Effectively Relieves Stress

Weight training offers one of the healthiest outlets for stress. Excessive stress promotes poor health and disease. Your body responds to everyday stressors (family conflicts, work issues, driving in traffic, and illness) by releasing a powerful hormone called cortisol. Repeated bursts of cortisol release promotes weight gain, belly fat accumulation and, ultimately, early disease-onset.

So, whether you knock out 20 squats, 15 pushups or a minute of planking, know that weight training is an effective stress-relieving drug that also supports overall good health.

Related Article: Stress: A Culprit Behind Weight Gain, Belly Fat, and Chronic Disease

Now, the best part about weight training is that it can easily fit into your schedule and lifestyle, mainly since this type of training requires minimal equipment and time. As little as 20-30 minutes a day of whole-body training with free weights, machines, rubber tubing or your own bodyweight is all it takes. Start today and you’ll notice a significant change in your appearance and mood in as little as a few weeks.

Related Article: Weight Training 101: What You Need To Know Before You Lift