Research shows many women make common exercising mistake


MISSOULA, Mont. - Many women work really hard to get into shape, but national research shows most could burn more calories by changing their workouts.

Women like Del Zetterberg put hours and hours into exercising. Zetterberg has an important goal.

"I am very conscious of osteoporosis. I want to stay fit for my life so I can stay independent," said Zetterberg.

She incorporates strength training into her routine.

Research from Texas A & M University and the Curves Women's Health and Fitness Initiative shows not enough women do.

"Curves has done a lot of research and finds that when women go to the gym, they really focus on cardio. You'll see the treadmills and ellipticals typically full of women, and the weights area often has a lot of men. So women are forgetting their strength training part of their workout. They are doing a lot of classes, but typically, they are cardio-based classes," said Megan Phaff, a fitness coach in Missoula, certified in the Curves methodology.

Coaches say strength training will help the body burn calories all day long, not just during the moment of working out.

"When I talk to women they often are afraid of bulking up, and they are unaware that strength training does not mean bodybuilder. It is all about strengthening their body from the core," said Phaff.

Other data backs up the Curves studies.

Research cited by Women's Health says your metabolism will spike for an hour after your workout is over as your muscles try to recover. That can add up to an additional 25 percent of calorie burn to your workout.

Researchers also say your body has to work harder to sustain muscle mass in general, so it can burn an extra 120 calories a day for every 3 pounds of muscle you build.

Over the course of a year that could take 10 extra pounds of fat off your body.

Coaches are noticing changes in those adopting the strength workout.

"We have noticed a lot of changes with them just being able to get off the medications, no longer having high blood pressure, to change those areas that they need to make their life better," said Phaff.

"I have osteopenia, but I am not losing any bone," said Zetterberg.

National guidelines set out by Curves recommend beginners exercise with strength interval training at least three days a week.

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