10 Steps to Natural Weight Loss and Health: Step 5, Weight Training
When people think of exercising, there's a tendency to consider exercise only as a cardiovascular activity. While men are much more likely to weight train than women, we still see weight training as a way to bulk up our muscles. Women especially seem to prefer exercises like Pilates or yoga, which promise to give much more streamlined muscles.
Benefits of Weight Training
Weight training is actually a fantastic activity that has all sorts of health benefits. Did you know weight training boosts your metabolism better than cardiovascular exercise does? It also improves your body's range of motion, strengthens your bones and really boosts your confidence. The best part of weight training is realizing how far you're come. Free weights give you set numbers to track your progress; after a month or two you can see how much more weight you can use.
Weight Training and the Heart
If you have a heart condition, you should always consult your doctor before starting on any exercise regimen. That said, resistance training is a great addition to any workout. Be sure to still get your cardiovascular exercise in, just alternate with weight training. Weight training increases your bone density and lean muscle mass, as well as insulin insensitivity.
Women and Weight Training
Pumping iron is no longer only for the guys! Many women avoid the weight room at the gym because it is chock full of big, sweaty men who can lift more pounds than we weigh. It's time to put your fears aside and enter this room. Weight training is great for women! It strengthens your bone density which is especially important as we age. Grab a friend and take a class to get familiar with various exercises. Then enter that room and show those boys what you're made of.
Weight training boosts your metabolism and keeps it running at high gear for much longer than cardio exercise can. Consider lifting weights first thing in the morning to maximize its metabolism boosting potential. Focus on movements that work more than one major muscle group: do a lunge instead of leg presses, for example.
Weight training improves your range of motion. Many of us skimp on stretching when we work out. Weight training is partly based on moving a muscle group in its full range of motion. It will keep your muscles strong and flexible.
Weight Training Tips
- Take a class to learn a variety of movements
- Don't hold your breath; be sure to breathe through the entire movement
- Take it slow; the extension and contraction of the muscle should take 2 to 4 seconds at least
- Maintain good posture
- Find your set weight; you should be able to do at least 8 to 12 repetitions per set, and at 2 to 4 sets of each exercise. You want to be pushing yourself, but don't overdo it. By the last couple repetitions, you should be feeling the burn.