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Lifting weights: Not just for boys

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Women tend to be intimidated by weightlifting, dubbing the weight pit "guy territory."

Well, no more! Ladies, it's time for us to get off the treadmill and yoga mat once in a while and head over to the pit.

No, you won't get big and bulky, unless you want to. What you will get, besides gorgeous, is a pile of health benefits.

For starters, lean muscle burns fat faster. Lean muscle mass will help the body "burn calories more efficiently" says the Mayo Clinic Staff. This may even continue past your workout. So whether you want to work it off or keep it off, don't just run: Lift.

Further, lifting heavy weights, not just those little fivers, helps to increase bone density. Brian Housle, of the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center, points out that for "post-menopausal women, bone mass decreases 1 to 2 percent per year" putting women at risk for osteoporosis. But he continues to tell us that the stress heavy lifting puts on our bones "will improve bone density enough to counter that loss."

Remember: Just because bone mass doesn't start going down until later in life doesn't mean women can't start reaping the benefits in their 20s!

On top of that, you can relieve stress and anxiety by lifting weights; from the meditative-like focus you can engage in to the endorphins released through hard work to the beautiful exhaustion that lets you sleep soundly through the night.

Personal successes in your workout (and, let's be honest, showing off), will boost your self confidence and your mood, helping you take on your day, and the rest of your workout plan.

And above all else...you will look and feel amazing.

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