Reflecting on international woman’s day yesterday, I find that modern women still have old fashion ideas about lifting weights.
Even though women lift weight every day; grocery bags, laptops, suitcases, pots, pans, children, grandchildren, etc. When it comes to lifting barbells, many women will shy away, despite study after study supporting the benefits of weightlifting.
Changing the image of women
I will take your attention back to 1942: WWII was raging, and industries were struggling to staff their factories. Women had to be employed to do the hard and heavy labor, traditionally done by men.
Clever marketing boosted the moral of women working at the Westinghouse electrical plant, and changed the image of what women could do – forever!
Introducing Rosie the Riveter
The image of Rosie with her arm flexed, hair tied in a polka dot scarf is of a strong woman prepared for a man’s job. This image has become an iconic image of women empowerment.
The story behind the image is intriguing. Women who took jobs as factory workers were often mothers. These women banded together working in shifts at the factories and then at home looking after each other’s children.
The inspiration for the “we can do it “ campaign is said to be a photograph taken of Naomi Parker working a lathe at the Westinghouse factory published in the Pittsburgh Press July 5, 1942.
The identity of the factory worker as Naomi Parker was discovered by Professor James J. Kimble of Seton Hall University in 2015.
Naomi Parker passed away January 20, 2018, aged 96 and if you are interested in her 2015 interview, I have included a link below this newsletter.
Why more women should weight lift.
Generations of cultural customs haven’t seen it necessary for women to weight lift, but it doesn’t mean women can’t and shouldn’t weight lift.
Here are some of the incredible benefits of weight/resistance training for modern women:
- Increases metabolism: After age 30 women start to lose muscle mass, causing the slowing of metabolism and allowing for fat to deposit quickly around the midsection. Weight lifting is a great way to regenerate muscle.
- Uses body fat stores: Muscles use more calories (energy) to maintain, weight training develops and maintains muscle tone, therefore, hindering the storage of fat.
- Tones and sculpts the body: Muscle tissue is denser and heavier than fat, it means that the body can hold its shape – no upper arm jiggle for us weightlifters!
- Health benefits: Weight training lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes while stabilizing blood pressure, as hormones triggered by the muscles, help remove glucose (sugar) and triglycerides (fat) from the bloodstream.
- Increases bone density. Bones grow after experiencing stress (or pressure) by producing Collagen. This deposits between bone cells and eventually mineralizes to increase the bone strength in that area.
- Reduces skin aging: (my favourite!) Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario (2014), conducted a “cheeky” study:
They gathered 29 volunteers between the ages of 20-84. Half were sedentary, and the other half exercised.
Researchers took a biopsy of their buttock skin. Revealing that the skin of the group that exercised was significantly younger.
The researchers then had the over 65-year sedentary group begin an endurance training program for three months.The results were startling – their buttock skin condition improved by 50%.
The study is not conclusive evidence that exercise can reverse wrinkles but the researcher Dr. Tarnopolsky said:
- “It is astonishing to consider all of the intricate ways in which exercise changes our bodies.”
You can strengthen your body at any age through exercise. Resisting exercise is not the same as resistance training – consider becoming stronger than your excuses and start a 9 minute workout today!
For more information and to download your free 9 minute workout click the link below:
Live well with fitness!
Fitness and Nutrition Personal Trainer