Hear ye, hear ye! Strength training boosts longevity, especially in women!


This week, a recent study made the national news. Women who do strength training two to three times a week not only build muscle, they also experience increased longevity and a lower risk of death from heart disease than women who do not do strength training.


Is that why you started doing it?


Good question, 9. I started strength training in January 2023 to improve bone density, which has long been known as a strength training benefit. Knowing nothing about weights I first spent some time with a trainer to make sure I was addressing the appropriate muscles with the proper form. Since then I’ve worked independently, putting in an hour-long routine with free weights and resistance machines twice a week at the local YMCA.


Strength training: Dumbbells are my friends! Start small and work your way up. . .


And what is the result?


I am definitely building muscle, Lily, and much of my routine is focused on improving balance and stability, too. The new study finds I am also helping to protect my joints, controlling blood sugar (though that’s not an issue for me- -knock on wood) and possibly boosting my mood.


And for bone density?


Hopefully that is improving, too, though I don’t qualify for a DEXA scan until April, at the earliest. My insurance covers bone density scans at intervals of eighteen months to two years.

Strength training: No fashion sense required! But please talk to your healthcare provider about what type of strength training is appropriate for you.

Whatever the DEXA scan result, I am definitely in better health since I’ve started strength training. And it’s interesting to learn that women derive more benefit with less effort from strength training than do men. It might have something to do with more capillaries feeding part of our muscles. You can read more about the study here:




There are lots of women doing strength training at the Y, ages from teens to eighties. It’s especially inspiring to see the older ladies get in their reps. I hope their adult kids appreciate mom doing what she can to stay strong and independent.


Because that’s the whole fitness thing in a nutshell: the better your physical health, the greater your options. As you age do you want to travel? Work in your yard? Join a dance group? Lift a grandchild into your lap or help an elderly parent get up and about?


Improving strength takes time, and I can hear many of you thinking (yes, that is one of my superpowers) “I need every minute of the day to work and take care of other people. I can’t take an hour two or three times a week for strength training.”

Strength training: Short on time and money? Try resistance bands. . .

Here’s the catch: if you do take time for strength training or some other activity that improves your physical fitness, you will do better at work and taking care of the people you love. It’s a benefit to them, as well as you, to have you healthier, less stressed, and stronger. Try twenty minutes twice a week if an hour doesn’t fit your schedule. But please don’t fall into the trap of doing nothing. Because you know what? The people in your life care about you, too.


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