Muscle mass has a protective effect on all-round health, so whatever your age, fitness goal, or current fitness level you will certainly benefit from increasing the amount of muscle you have in your body, especially as a woman. Lifting weights with the goal of building muscle will mean a better quality of life now, as well as when we are older. We will be able to look after ourselves for longer and lead a more independent life.
A common concern among women is that building muscle will make them look bulky. However more muscle means increased metabolism and it will make you a more efficient mover, meaning fewer injuries and pain. It takes a lot of hard work in the form of heavy training and increased calories for women to gain muscle mass due to their genetic makeup and hormones.
Focus on what your body can do, rather than what it looks like!
There is absolutely no age limit when it comes to fitness training and especially not with strength training and lifting weights. Our muscle mass starts to decline rapidly after the age of 45, with major reductions again occurring at age 65 and 80. We need muscle to allow our body to move and function effectively that’s why it’s so important that we start to build up the amount of muscle we have in our body when we are able to do so.
The more muscle we have to begin with the better protected we are from the natural physical decline as we age. Think of your body like a bank account and muscle is money. The more money you have in your bank account the more you can afford to lose as we age or if we have a serious accident or injury.
The only way you can build up your bank account is to continue to make deposits. We can only build more muscle in the body is by continuously giving our muscles the signal that they aren’t strong enough. This then sends the message to our muscles to make the changes to grow and get stronger. As part of a muscle-building programme you should be changing your routines and increasing the resistance (the weight you are lifting) every four to six weeks.
To get started building more muscle in your body, bodyweight exercises are a good place to start. Once you feel more confident and stronger you can then progress onto increasing the resistance via free weights such as kettlebells or dumbbells.
The videos below will give you a good starting point for sessions you can try at home.