Why Do These Women Want to Get So Strong? 5

That’s what my mom asked me after one of her visits to the gym. Where are many reasons, but here is one success story.

But this article doesn’t really answer the question “why?”

Since we at MDSoF are mostly interested in General Physical Preparedness (GPP) and, in general, better health, I’ll stick to reasons that address those (although, I think stronger people are generally hotter, have more fun, and harder to kill but I can’t prove that :-)). Also note that while this post is directed at women, we are an equal opportunity gym, so all these reasons apply to men as well:

  1. Bone Mineral Density (BMD): If I only had an elevator ride to explain why getting stronger is really getting healthier, I would start with bone mineral density. There are many ways to increase or keep your existing bone density. The two fastest and easiest ways are to, one, increase the contractile strength of the muscles that connect to the bone, and, two, load the bones axially, i.e. long-ways. Obviously, there are pharmacological ways to increase BMD but definitely strength training is the low-hanging fruit. Note: BMD is just an estimate of bone strength and is not always accurate, but right now, to my knowledge, it is the fastest and least invasive way of knowing bone strength.
  2. Functional movement and balance: Hopefully the elevator is still going all the way to the top, so let me sneak one more in. The high-priority lifts and exercises used in strength training, or at least coached strength training, are full body, multi-joint movements like squatting, pressing and deadlifting, push-up, lunges, pull-ups, etc. are really measures of independence. By learning and improving these basic strength lifts and exercises, you are making payments to the most basic of all health insurance and/or long-term care plans, the Move-It-Or-Lose-It plan. Seriously, when you can’t do your activities of daily living (ADLs) you will lose your independence. Susan, Jules and I met a woman on our hike up Windy Hill a few weeks ago, she was late 60s or early 70s and she absolutely glowed with happiness and health. Ask the people that you want to be like when you grow up if they exercise, I bet most of them do, even if it is gardening a few hours each week.

OK, the elevator ride is over. I don’t want to be an alarmist, most of us are a long way from a hip fracture or losing the ability to perform ADLs; however, ask the health practitioners that workout at the gym how often they see relatively young people with old people’s diseases. It happens, don’t be that gal (or guy), strong women are healthy women.

This post is dedicated to one of the strongest and most powerful women I have ever known. Joan, thank you for your service to the MDSoF community. We hope to see you soon.

5 thoughts on “Why Do These Women Want to Get So Strong?

  • Mildred

    And here are a few other reasons:

    *so moving takes only 1 hour instead of 6 (I just tried this one and it’s true!)

    *so I know I can take care of myself when the zombie apocalypse finally gets here 😉

    *so I can try any sport or game I want without fear of injury or under-performance holding me back

    *so I can kick the boyfriend’s ass if he gets out of line 😉

    *so I don’t have to call in sick like the rest of my coworkers who are always battling a cold or a hernia or a pulled muscle from just getting up from a chair or sciatica or or fill-in-the-blank

    *so I can eat fat

    *so my skin glows

    *so I have great posture

    *so I’m a glowing 60 year old who climbs mountains

    *so I don’t suck at life

    *because strong is sexy

  • Susan Jimenez

    Go Mildred!
    Here is my .02 cents:
    * Because feeling strong feels good
    * Because being strong means I can put it in / on my car / load it myself — and gives me the OPTION of asking my wonderful husband to help instead of being DEPENDENT on him to do for me
    * Because knowing how to lift things is fun
    * Because having a 360 degree / holistic plan to be healthy includes moving my body every day
    * Because everyone who is not on a strength training regimen begins to lose muscle mass in their 20s. Yes, their 20s. Even men. Even if your weight stays the same – you are losing muscle mass and gaining fat.
    * Because every woman wants to be ‘toned’ — and the two ways to accomplish that are to eat meat, veggies, and healthy fats and to do strength training!

  • Jess Gee


    but also:
    * because it makes the rest of the #$*@^ (a.k.a. nonsense) I have to deal with in my day SO much more manageable
    * because strong = sexy
    * because sometimes it is a good thing to be underestimated – if only so that you can drop jaws and turn heads
    * because being in touch with your body brings balance, and balance brings peace

  • maryann

    I’m with Susan and Mildred on this one. Feeling strong feels good.
    Also, I can seem cool to my teenage son who has is now playing freshman football and we get to talk about dead lift technique, back squats, etc. 🙂
    Also, it’s kind of nice when your pants fit differently because they are looser in the waist but tighter in the legs because of stronger quads.
    I was also just at a nutrition lecture at work by some Stanford Ph.D professor guy and he was talking about weight bearing exercise as an effective way to getting better bone density (the alternative being dairy or calcium supplement)

  • gwyn gordon

    Real-life applications of strength & fitness:

    1) sprinting through the Seattle airport to retrieve the boarding pass & ID that I left at security, and making it back to my gate just in time to board before they closed the door (yes I felt like OJ Simpson, well the young OJ in the ads)

    2) carrying my 40+ pound daughter out of Kepler’s while she was having a screaming/thrashing tantrum — good times!

    3) cheerfully unloading 10 bags of potting soil from my car and dumping them in the garden

    4) hoisting my end of my fully packed tack trunk into the horse trailer, after the burly guy on the other end says doubtfully, “You okay?”

    5) helping my husband move our bed back and forth across our bedroom as we debate its ideal placement

    6) swimming for the first time in…months? and feeling better with every lap

    7) having someone at my “other” gym ask me, “Where’d you learn to squat like that?”

    8) being beaten by my husband at racquetball for the first few games, then just wearing him down to the point of exhaustion until I could finally beat him (it takes a while but is oh so worth it)

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