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Become a Healthy Entrepreneur

Become a Healthy Entrepreneur

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Myth #4: A woman will get too bulky if she lifts weights
Reality Check: Your body will change-you’ll get more lean and flexible- but you won’t get bulky

This myth probably has its roots in the physiques of weight lifters such as strongmen, bodybuilders, and bruising National Football League linemen. So it’s not really surprising that when you walk into any health club or gym, women are scarce in the dumbbell and barbell section. But the reality is that most women just don’t have enough testosterone to pack on hefty muscles. This hormone is needed to increase protein synthesis, which leads to bigger muscles. Yes, it’s true, because of genetic differences, that some women will be more apt to increase muscle size than others, but this won’t be at all similar to the muscle increases men show. The female bodybuilder physique is rare-these women have a genetic predisposition to build muscle and they do lots and lots of exercises. They also may take anabolic steroids and have abnormally low body fat percentages.

What a woman can expect from weight lifting is greater muscle strength- weight training makes her body better at recruiting muscle fibers to do an activity. A study from the 1970s found that weight-training women enjoyed strength gains ranging from 10 to 30 percent. At the same time, the women showed little overall increase in muscle size.

And while it’s commonly thought that weight training makes you less flexible, the opposite actually is true. In another research study, ten weeks of strength training for women age 62 to 78 resulted in a 13 percent increase in their flexibility. This increased strength and flexibility, of course, means everyday life is, well, just easier. Carrying a file down the hall, hauling groceries, picking up your kids, getting out of a car-all take strength. And the stronger you are, the less stress there is on your body.

Myth #5: Exercise is dangerous
Reality Check: Working out is safe when done with proper form, a moderate progression, and your doctor’s clearance.

It’s clear that physical inactivity is a big risk to health. But what about the hazards of exercise-getting injured while lifting weights, getting into an accident, or suffering a medical emergency?

Of course, no activity is without its dangers. Even the proverbial crossing-of-the-street carries risks. But let’s put this in perspective. While weight lifting certainly can lead to injury, this is largely avoidable-most injuries result from inexperience, improper form, or doing too much too soon. In reality, the rate of injury from training with weights and weight equipment is between 2.4 and 7.6 percent of participants in a given year.

That said, for someone with “silent atherosclerosis,” or hardening of the arteries, vigorous exercise can bring on a heart attack in rare cases—so for anyone starting an exercise program, it’s best to get your physician’s clearance before going forward. Here’s what the American Heart Association has to say on the subject: “The potential health benefits of exercise greatly outweigh the risk, although there is a very slight increased risk of death due to heart attack during vigorous exercise. Consult your doctor first if you have any concerns, have been sedentary, are overweight, are middle-aged or older, or have a medical condition.”