Women and Strength Training
by Nishant Mandal
You might have heard about the health benefits of exercising, and you might already know that a ʻhealthyʼ lifestyle should always include some sort of physical activity.
This is even more true when it comes to women, and that the best health-related outcomes of physical activity come from strength training. Let’s look at why.
1. Sarcopenia Prevention : Sarcopenia is defined as ʻthe loss of muscle mass plus low muscle strength or low physical performanceʼ. Several studies in different countries and regions have shown a strong correlation between sarcopenia and increased mortality in the elderly population (80-85 years of age). Therefore, building as much muscle and strength as possible at a young age, can prevent sarcopenia from occurring and, potentially, it can extend one’s lifespan. In a sense, muscles can be thought of as ʻthe bank of longevity’. Why am I telling you this? Because on average, women tend to have less muscle mass than men, they need to build muscle even more than their male counterparts to prevent (or slow down) sarcopenia. How do they build muscle and strength? Through a well-structured strength training programme.
2. Osteoporosis Prevention: Did you know that the amount of literature showing a positive correlation between resistance, strength and power training and increase of Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is a lifespan high? Just Google it and you’ll see. This occurs because high-impact activities place significant stress, not only on muscle tissue but also on joints and bones, stimulating the building of new bone material, to strengthen the existing bones. Osteoporosis is a medical condition affecting mostly postmenopausal women, which is characterised by a decrease in BMD. When regularly performed at a young age, high-impact training can contribute to developing high peak bone mass, which will preserve bone mass throughout life. If implemented later in life, high-impact activities can still slow down the onset of osteoporosis. Therefore, resistance training is widely recommended by the medical community as a very effective way to contrast osteoporosis.
3. Functionality and Independence in Old Age: A bunch of studies have associated strength and power training with increased functionality and independence in old age. While it is still unclear whether power training (namely, a training style focusing on speed-strength or strength-speed) has a higher impact than maximal strength training, implementing any activity involving compound (multi-joint) movements and heavy loads can be recommended as a longevity therapy for both men and women.
4. Depression and Anxiety Prevention: Several studies have been conducted over the past four decades, showing how the endorphin release following a training session can decrease both anxiety and depression. According to the American National Institutes of Health, ʻWomen are twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and the prevalence of anxiety disorders is significantly higher for women (23.4 percent) than men (14.3 percent). Therefore, women are twice as likely to need to implement physical activity into their lifestyle as men, to prevent anxiety and depression. Whilst both aerobic and anaerobic activities have been shown to release endorphins, strength training has also been reported to bring a significant improvement in quality of life in women with breast cancer and to help with chronic neck pain relief and work ability in female industrial workers. Therefore, the overall impact of strength training on quality of life seems to be superior to that of cardiovascular activities alone, especially in physical workers and in the chronically ill population.
Nishant Mandal is a certified Personal trainer/Online fitness coach based out of Delhi NCR. He is ACE-CPT, Crossfit L-1, PN-L1 certified and Calisthenics enthusiast, Deadlift Junkie, Movement & Mobility expertise
He gets people to move and better themselves since 2010, through individualised and challenging routines, but not much than what one can’t handle. You can connect with him at
April 10, 2022