“The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” published a study that showed women burned an average of 100 calories more in the 24 hours following an hour long weight training workout than they would otherwise. In addition to improving overall weight loss, weight training can increase metabolism and strengthen joints. As more and more women hit the weight bench, knowing the dangers and exercising caution will help women avoid injury.
Most Common Injuries
Injuries that occur most frequently in both men and women who lift weights include sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations. The most commonly affected areas for injury are the shoulders, lower back and knees. These injuries are caused by either overexertion or poor technique. Those who train with free weights, such as bench press, are at a greater risk for injury when a spotter is not used.
Dangers During Pregnancy
When done properly, and under the supervision of a doctor, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, strength training during pregnancy can be very beneficial. Women who strength train during pregnancy gain less weight during their pregnancy, retain less fat and lose weight quicker following the birth. Additionally, women who strength trained during their pregnancies have reported less complicated and shorter deliveries.
Avoid forceful exhalation. This can cause the constriction of airflow to the uterus, resulting in injury to the fetus. Airflow constriction can also occur when lifting weights while laying flat on the back, especially during and after the second trimester.
By staying hydrated and avoiding exercising in hot or humid environments, the mother reduces the risk of overheating and overexertion, which can cause fetal hypoxemia. Fetal hypoxemia occurs when blood is diverted from the uterus to supply the mother’s muscles, thus reducing the amount of oxygen being supplied to the baby.
According to Elzi Volk, a journalist for “Think Muscle”, “Amenorrhea occurs nearly 20 times more frequently in female athletes compared to the general population.” Amenorrhea occurs when a woman of reproductive age misses menstrual cycles for 90 consecutive days or more. Amenorrhea reduces estrogen production and increases testosterone, which leads to an increase in facial hair and a decrease in breast size. Additionally, this puts the woman at greater risk for developing osteoporosis.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is another risk associated with the increase in testosterone found in women with amenorrhea. This can lead to ovarian cysts, weight gain and insulin resistance.
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