By Angelica Gavaldon.

I cannot deny it. I was one of those women who was petrified of lifting heavy weights because I did not want to turn into The Hulk.

As a former professional athlete, I was at the gym and on the tennis courts all day. My training consisted of lifting heavy weights, sprinting and tennis footwork in addition to on-court drills. When I retired from the tour, I promised myself I would never lift heavy again. Keeping my promise, I committed to strictly doing cardio. However, 15 years later at my annual exam, my doctor told me that after I turned 40 I would need to begin a weight routine for bone density and hormonal levels.

After doing some in-depth research, I was surprised by all the benefits and decided to give his recommendation a try. It has been one year since I changed my strict, cardio-only routine, and I can honestly say that it has changed the way I feel inside out and it can do the same for you. The incredible benefits of lifting weights include:

1. An increase in bone density
2. A stronger and fitter physique
3. Prevention of diseases when combined with a healthy diet
4. An increase in testosterone and better management of pre-menopause as hormone levels change in your 40s.
5. Continuous burning of calories throughout the day even after you’ve worked out
6. Development of a leaner body as body fat decreases
7. Feeling stronger physically, which mentally makes you feel better
8. Maintenance of healthy blood sugar
9. Significantly improve your mood. This is especially beneficial for those who suffer from depression
10. Makes it easier to lead a healthy and active lifestyle