Benefits of Strength Training

Heart-healthy exercise and eating well are two pillars to good health. Getting your heart rate up and keeping it there for several minutes will help to strengthen this all-important muscle and make it work more efficiently. Your stamina will increase and you will find it easier to fight viral infections, such as colds or the flu.

Engaging in aerobic exercise also causes your body to release endorphins, which give your mood a boost. Doing so will also help you to live longer, so do make sure that you are walking, running, swimming, cycling or doing a similar activity regularly.

Aerobics are good for your health and fitness, but you also need to add a strength training routine (Pilates is a good example) to your exercise plans to help you build lean muscles and burn body fat. Losing muscle mass is a natural part of the aging process – unless you are performing strength training activities. Omitting this step from your fitness plan means that the amount of body fat you are carrying will increase over time. Carrying it around puts a strain on your heart and is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Other Ways Strength Training Helps You

  • When you add strength training to your fitness routine, you are putting stress on your bones. This is an excellent strategy for strengthening them, since it helps to increase bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
  • If your goal is to keep your weight down, strength training can definitely help you do to so. As your muscle mass increases, your body is able to burn calories in a more efficient manner.
  • Building muscle also helps you to protect your joints, which lowers your risk of injury. It also helps with your ability to balance, which may mean being able to remain independent longer as you age.
  • Your stamina will increase as you continue with your strength training routine. Being able to combat fatigue will make the activities that pack your already-full schedule much less daunting.
  • You may also find it easier to focus if you engage in strength training. The results of some studies have suggested that older adults who do this type of activity have an increased attention span.
  • If you are living with a chronic condition, you may be able to get symptom relief by performing strength training. People with back pain, arthritis and osteoporosis can benefit from doing so. Exercise can be used as part of an overall treatment plan to deal with depression as well.

Before you start a strength training routine, check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to exercise. You will also want to ask about any restrictions that you need to keep in mind when you are doing so.

Weight Training for Women: Facts You Need to Know

Cardiovascular exercise for heart health is an important part of getting and staying fit, but women shouldn’t ignore weight training as a way to help them meet their goals of having a strong, healthy body.

Fear of Bulking Up

One of the major reasons women shy away from deciding to work out with free weights or use an exercise machine like a treadmill or a stairclimber is that they are afraid of bulking up. Incorporating weight training into your exercise machine won’t make you look like The Hulk; instead, it helps you to develop lean muscle.

Men build muscle when they use weights due to the higher level of testosterone in their bodies. Women have some of this hormone in their system, but not enough that they will develop muscle in the way that a man does.

Women who are working out with weights should keep the number of sets low. Doing four or five sets per muscle group with seven or eight reps per set will give you a great workout without overstraining.

Concern About Free Weights

Women can definitely use free weights when working out. This option gives a better range of movement than you would get if you were using an exercise machine. If your goal is to work your muscles more efficiently, then incorporate free weights into your routine.

Exercise machines are a safer choice if you have been injured in the past or you are new to working out. The range of movement available with a machine is controlled, and as long as you are using a weight that is challenging without being too heavy, the risk of injury is low.

To get started with free weights, book a session or two with a personal trainer. He or she can suggest some exercises for you to start with, as well as the right level of weights to use.

Stick with It

You can go to the gym, consult with a personal trainer and make a plan for working out with weights. It won’t do you any good if you don’t stick to it. Start slowly, with relatively light weights and make sure you give your body at least one rest day in between strength training sessions. In addition to building strength and conditioning your heart, remember that exercise can lower triglycerides and cholesterol too.

Weight training for women can help you to build lean muscle and improve your appearance. The changes won’t happen overnight, but if you stick to your routine, you will start to see results within the first few weeks. This early success will motivate you to continue with this important part of getting and staying fit.