Working out provides a wide range of health benefits, both physical and mental, for women and men. Whether you’re working out to build muscle, to lose a few pounds or to take on a new fitness challenge, launching and sticking with a fitness routine is a great way to boost your health.
If you’re new to the gym, starting a new workout among the sheer variety of gym machines and equipment can be daunting, says Alex Lyons, a certified personal trainer at HOA+ (House of Athlete Plus), a digital fitness platform, based in Brooklyn, New York. But it shouldn’t be.
“No woman should feel intimidated in the gym,” she says. “Machines offer a way to learn proper form and tension mechanics, so you can continue to level up your fitness as you get stronger. They offer the ability to increase stability.”
It’s important to keep in mind that strength training becomes more important for women as they age in order to maintain muscle density and bone strength. Many women, particularly older individuals who are past the age of menopause, are at risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis, medical conditions involving decreased bone density and weak bones.
That’s why exercise plays an important role in healthy aging. Strength and resistance training not only builds muscle, but it also has an osteogenic effect, meaning it strengthens your bones and promotes bone growth, which – in turn – lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
“Once your comfort level increases, machines are a great way to mix up your routine,” Lyons adds, “especially with a combination of heavy weights, dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells, cardio and low-impact exercise.”
Here are nine of the best gym machines for women:
Next:1. Smith machine