If you’ve followed this blog since the beginning, you know that I started out more of a runner who lifted weights occasionally. Well, after several years, more education, and 2 kids, I’m now more of a lifter that occasionally runs. I still love running, but it’s harder to get out there and do it with two littles and I’ve learned that my body actually does better with more lifting. What do I mean by better?
- less chance of injury
- more lean muscle mass
- more bone density (especially important for us mamas who’ve carried babies that’ve taken a lot of our nutrients)
- more energy
- lower impact (better for pelvic floor post-partum)
- It’s just plain fun getting stronger!
I’m a big proponent of finding movement you enjoy, whether that’s running, yoga, lifting, swimming, hiking, whatever! If you enjoy it, there’s more of a chance you’ll stick with it and make it a habit. However, I do recommend that everyone does some form a weight lifting (resistance training) at least 2 times a week.
Resistance training is anything that forces you to push again gravity with weight. It will help build lean muscles mass, increase bone density, improve flexibility, and aid in any other activity you do.
Build Lean Muscle Mass
Our muscle mass naturally decreases as we age, so it’s very important to try and maintain as much as we can to avoid injury as we get older. When our muscle mass decreases, we are at risk for injury. Lifting weights helps maintain and increase that muscle mass so you’re less likely to get injured.
Increase Bone Density
Same thing goes for bone density; especially if you’ve been pregnant. We know those sweet little babes take our nutrients which put us as more risk for osteoporosis and bone injuries. Resistance training helps build up that bone strength by putting physical stresses on the bone, which actually helps increase bone deposition. 1
Improve Immune System
This one is still in the theory stage in the scientific community, however there are several reasons why exercise may help you fight off diseases. Exercise slows the release of stress hormones which we know can elevate autoimmune disease. It increases your body temperature for a limited time which can prevent bacteria from growing or help fight an early infection better. It may also help flush bacteria out of the lunges and airway. I can speak from personal experience, ever since I have started working out regularly, I rarely get sick. In fact, the only times I’ve been sick in the last 5 years is when I’ve been pregnant (again, those sweet babies take all our nutrients and immune system). 2
Decrease Blood Sugar
As we build lean muscle mass, our muscles become better at storing glucose meaning our bodies become better at regulating our blood sugar. Also, as we increase muscle and decrease fat on our bodies, we require less insulin to help store energy in our fat cells. Exercise is often recommended to people with diabetes because it can help them regulate their blood sugar better, and may help lessen their insulin dosage needed. 3
‘Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands.’ One of my all time favorite movie quotes from Legally Blonde. Endorphins react with other hormones in your body to create that happy feeling or ‘workout high’ many people experience. If you’re feeling sluggish, unmotivated, tired, cranky…pick up some weights. I guarantee you, after some lifting, you’ll start to feel those hormones kick in, and be in a better mood.
I encourage you to find whatever activity you genuinely enjoy and do that regularly. However, I also encourage you to lift weights along with that activity. You certainly don’t need to lift every day, but at least 2 times a week will give you these benefits and allow you to see some changes.
If you’re new to lifting and want a place to start, try my 30 Day Challenge! 30 days of workouts that you can do AT HOME with just a set of dumbbells. This is a great program for those of you who need an intro to lifting and need some consistent workouts to start with. Get YOUR COPY today!