If you’re like many women, the idea of lifting weights as part of your workout may not appeal to you. Weight training can provide a wide range of benefits, ranging from weight loss to reducing the risk of injury, but if you’d prefer not to use weights in your workout there are a variety of options that can provide similar benefits.
Strength Training for Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve probably compared the number of calories burned by different types of exercise and noticed that cardiovascular exercise burns more calories per hour than weight training. While this is true, it’s only part of the picture. The amount of energy your body burns at rest, known as the basal metabolic rate, depends on the proportion of fat to muscle in your build. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body uses up even when you’re not exercising. As a result, weight training can help you lose weight even when you’re at rest.
Other Benefits of Strength Training
Many athletes make weight training part of their workout, even if upper-body strength isn’t part of their sport. Among other reasons, this is because weight training can help reduce the risk of damage to your body’s muscles and tendons. Strengthening the muscles around joints such as the knee helps the joint absorb shock and prevents injury, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Additionally, this type of exercise strengthens the bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Alternatives to Weights
Given its many benefits, it’s clear that some form of strength training is a worthwhile addition to your workout. However, strength training doesn’t necessarily have to mean pumping iron. There are a wide range of activities that help build muscular strength. Exercises which use your own body weight, such as pull-ups or push-ups, can build strength without weights, as can yoga or Pilates. Resistance bands are a portable alternative to free weights or weight machines. These and other exercises can help you gain the benefits of strength training.
Choosing the Right Exercise for You
With the variety of strength training alternatives available, you’ll never need to add weights to your workout program if you don’t want to. Free weights and weight machines do offer a number of benefits, such as the ability to steadily and precisely increase the amount of resistance in your exercises. If building strength is important to you, it’s worth trying weight training to see if it’s right for you, but it isn’t the only way to incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.