Myths and misconceptions surround the idea of weight lifting for women. Even young women who go the gym regularly balk at lifting dumbbells heavier than two or four pounds unless what they really have in mind in the first place is to grow muscles. I have observed women in the gym, refusing a trainer's suggestions to use heavier weights, for a number of reasons. Though some may be personal, most refusals were based on what their mothers, friends or sisters told them about lifting weights. Maybe it's time to give weight lifting a second look.

The most common reason why women refuse to lift weights is because they are afraid they will develop big muscles just like men. But think about this. Have you noticed how hard men have to work to grow their muscles like that of a bodybuilder? It takes years of heavy, consistent training to achieve even modest muscle gain. So gaining muscle is not as easy as you think. The reason why is because of testosterone. Abundant in men but not in women, testosterone is the principal male sex hormone and is responsible for a lot of what makes men different from women, which includes the development of large, bulky muscles. Also present in women but in small amounts, it will never, in natural circumstances, be enough to grow muscles comparable to men.

Some women believe that weight lifting converts fat to muscles. If only that were true. And some also believe that stopping will convert muscles to fat, which is wrong too. Developing muscles is not alchemy. Muscles in women, however, will increase metabolism, which allows you to use up more calories than just doing, say, aerobic exercises. Even when at rest, muscles use up more calories than fat and the more calories you spend, the faster weight loss occurs. Not to mention the development of sleek, sculpted and more attractive muscles.

Throughout history, women have been considered the gentler or weaker sex. True, generally, women will always have less muscle mass than men. Maybe this is why women prefer aerobic exercises to weight lifting, because aerobics do not require weight lifting, which is considered a masculine activity anyway.

Most women who go to the gym are into cardio and no weights or just light weight lifting exercises. Some women perceive weight lifting or strength training as a masculine activity and therefore do not partake in it in an effort to preserve their femininity. Whatever the origins of these myths, the fact is, weight lifting for women is healthy. It will prevent a lot of physiological changes associated with aging and may delay the appearance of tell tale signs of aging such as sagging muscles and osteoarthritis. Myth or no myth, as with all other things in life, it is still a personal choice. We just have to make sure that the choices we make are the right ones.

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