Weight Training for Women: Facts You Need to Know

Cardiovascular exercise for heart health is an important part of getting and staying fit, but women shouldn’t ignore weight training as a way to help them meet their goals of having a strong, healthy body.

Fear of Bulking Up

One of the major reasons women shy away from deciding to work out with free weights or use an exercise machine like a treadmill or a stairclimber is that they are afraid of bulking up. Incorporating weight training into your exercise machine won’t make you look like The Hulk; instead, it helps you to develop lean muscle.

Men build muscle when they use weights due to the higher level of testosterone in their bodies. Women have some of this hormone in their system, but not enough that they will develop muscle in the way that a man does.

Women who are working out with weights should keep the number of sets low. Doing four or five sets per muscle group with seven or eight reps per set will give you a great workout without overstraining.

Concern About Free Weights

Women can definitely use free weights when working out. This option gives a better range of movement than you would get if you were using an exercise machine. If your goal is to work your muscles more efficiently, then incorporate free weights into your routine.

Exercise machines are a safer choice if you have been injured in the past or you are new to working out. The range of movement available with a machine is controlled, and as long as you are using a weight that is challenging without being too heavy, the risk of injury is low.

To get started with free weights, book a session or two with a personal trainer. He or she can suggest some exercises for you to start with, as well as the right level of weights to use.

Stick with It

You can go to the gym, consult with a personal trainer and make a plan for working out with weights. It won’t do you any good if you don’t stick to it. Start slowly, with relatively light weights and make sure you give your body at least one rest day in between strength training sessions. In addition to building strength and conditioning your heart, remember that exercise can lower triglycerides and cholesterol too.

Weight training for women can help you to build lean muscle and improve your appearance. The changes won’t happen overnight, but if you stick to your routine, you will start to see results within the first few weeks. This early success will motivate you to continue with this important part of getting and staying fit.

Exercise Equipment for Cardio Workout

When you are considering which piece of exercise is best for your cardio workout, don’t lose sight of the idea that you are looking for something that will help you get (and keep) your heart rate elevated. If you are looking for a very simple way to exercise that is easy and inexpensive, consider going for a brisk walk. This is something that people at any level of fitness can do, but it isn’t the best choice when the weather is excessively hot, cold or damp.

There are a number of equipment choices that can provide you with an effective indoor cardio workout, including a stationary bicycle, elliptical trainer, rowing machine or a treadmill. The right one for you is one that you will enjoy using that doesn’t exacerbate any physical problems that you may have and will help you lower the risk of heart disease.

For example, if you have trouble with your knees, the elliptical trainer may not be the best choice for you. Some people don’t enjoy using a treadmill because they would rather walk or jog outside instead of staying in one place. There is no single choice that is right for everyone, and one good thing about joining a gym is that it provides access to a number of pieces of exercise equipment for heart health.

Mixing up your workout by using a variety of machines is a good strategy to avoid becoming bored. You may want to get or stay fit, but if your workout routine is the same every time, it’s more likely that you will find it challenging to stick with it.

When you are considering the different types of exercise equipment for cardio workout that are available, it’s important to find one that fits in with your personal fitness goals. If you are a woman who is concerned about preventing osteoporosis, you will want to make a point of not focusing your workout entirely on the elliptical trainer. This piece of equipment is a good choice when you want to avoid putting pressure on your bones or joints, but you will also want to make sure you are adding some weight-bearing exercise to your workout as well.

If you like to run or jog and you are looking for a machine that mimics that activity, consider using a treadmill for your cardiovascular workout. An incline trainer can help you prepare for hiking or other strenuous types of physical activity.

The best exercise equipment for cardio workout won’t do you any good if you aren’t using it. If you can’t or don’t want to go to the gym, find some type of activity you can do to get your heart beating faster. Combining a number of activities will help you stay fit and keep the process interesting, too.

How to Use a Treadmill

On the face of it, using a treadmill is very easy. It’s just like walking, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. The treadmill is arguably the easiest piece of exercise equipment to use, but you still have to follow a few simple instructions to use it properly and get the maximum benefits, which include preventing coronary artery disease.

Read the Treadmill Manual

After you buy a treadmill the first thing you need to do is to read the manual. A person who has just unpacked their new treadmill will want to get it set up and check it out right away. If they have used one before, they may feel that they know everything they need to about operating the unit and even if using a treadmill is new to them, how complicated can it be?

Each model is going to be slightly different, and taking some time to get familiar with the unit and its features is a good choice. It’s not so much a question of how to use a treadmill as how to use the one in the room. Some of the more pricey models can have up to 100 different programs and to get the right one set up is going to take more effort than simply getting on the machine, pushing a few buttons and hoping for the best.

Start the Machine Slowly

Don’t stand on the belt when you start the treadmill. Place your feet on either side of it when you turn on the machine. Once you see that the belt has started moving at a slow rate of speed, usually between one and two miles per hour, you can step on the belt and start to walk or jog.

Swing Your Arms While Walking

The idea behind using a treadmill is to replicate walking or jogging outside, so once you have a good rhythm going, let go of the handrails. You will get a much more effective workout by swinging your arms, as you would do if you were walking or running outside. People who have trouble keeping their balance can hold onto the handrails lightly to steady themselves as they use the treadmill.

Keep Focused by Looking Straight Ahead

One of the things you will learn as you discover how to use a treadmill is to keep your head up and keep your eyes focused on what is in front of you. Some people try to read while using the treadmill, but this kind of multitasking can be distracting. You are better off looking straight ahead while the machine is in use.

Choose Good Quality Shoes

A sturdy pair of walking or running shoes is a must when using the treadmill; never use one while barefoot.

How to Choose the Right Treadmill

If you have decided that you want to have the convenience of having a treadmill in your home, how do you decide which one is right for you? Before you start looking in stores or online, take some time to think about how you will be using the equipment.

You need to be honest with yourself about whether you will be walking on the treadmill or you are planning to run or jog on it. Another consideration is how much space you have available to use and store the unit. Add your budget to the list and you will be ready to start considering different options.

Walking or Running?

When you are trying to choose the right treadmill, consider whether you will be walking on it only or if you are or will be jogging or running for a cardio workout. The reason this is important is that if you plan to move faster than a brisk walk, the treadmill will be subjected to a higher degree of punishment.

A higher quality treadmill will be better able to resist the kind of pounding that takes place when you are running on it. Before making your choice, be sure to ask about the level of shock absorption that the models you are considering have to offer. Choosing one that has good shock absorption means that you will have less wear and tear on your knees and legs while using it.

Space Considerations

Treadmills come in foldable and static models. When space is at a premium or you are planning to use the room where you will be using the treadmill for other purposes as well, consider a foldable deck model.

If the treadmill will be placed in a space dedicated to exercise and stability is a main consideration, a static model is a better choice. This type of treadmill is more durable, since there is no joint between the deck and the frame.

There are good quality treadmills available in both deck styles, though, and having limited space doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t buy one that will stand up well.

Budget

When you are looking for the right treadmill, your budget is a definite consideration. You will definitely get what you pay for when you decide to buy a treadmill for home use. Before making your final decision, be sure to ask whether the unit comes with a manufacturer’s warranty for your protection.

To get a treadmill that has several programs, an EKG monitor, power speed control and incline and a good level of shock absorption, you will be looking to spend a minimum of $1,000. Units retailing for $2,500 and up have more features, including up to 12 programs, a maximum weight limit of up to 500 lbs. and an interactive display panel.

Get Active for Optimal Heart Health

When you make a point of being physically active, you are taking one of the best steps to improve your overall health. Your heart is first and foremost a muscle, and it needs regular cardio exercise to get and stay strong. Other benefits of exercise include increased ability to deal with the stresses and strains that go with everyday life. Since exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s own "feel good" hormones, you will have a more positive outlook after undertaking any kind of physical activity. Making exercise a part of your regular routine is a great way to overall good health! Even setting aside 30 minutes per day to walk, climb stairs, or swim will do more good than you can imagine.