A complete exercise program always includes both weight training and aerobic activity. Weight training strengthens the muscles of the body while aerobic activity conditions the cardiovascular system and burns calories. Both types of training will give you all the benefits of a total body workout. How both types of activity are combined in a workout is mostly personal preference. If you give equal importance to muscle building and calorie burning, do either one first. If your goal is to burn calories, do your aerobic work first, when you are fresh and alert. If your goal is to build muscle, do your weight training first for the same reason. As another option, some people break up their workout by alternating weight training and aerobic activity. For example, ten minutes on the bicycle, 15 minutes of weight training, 20 minutes on the treadmill, then 15 more minutes of weights. Others find it that doing weights one day and aerobic work the next day works best for them. Here’s some basic information to help you decide if weight training will put you on the path to realizing your goals:

Why to Strength Train

What Strength or Weight Training Can Do For You

  • Shape and define your body: Weight training can play a major role in enhancing your body composition and physical appearance. When you have a higher ratio of muscle to fat, your body takes on a leaner, firmer and fitter appearance.
  • Improve posture: Good posture is not automatic for most people. When you exercise with correct posture you train your muscles to hold themselves that way in everyday life. The payoff is that people who have good posture present an image of self-confidence.
  • Help control your weight: Weight training increases your muscle mass which in turn increases your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories). Although weight training alone will not let you achieve your weight loss goals, experts agree that it is an important component of any weight control program.
  • Increase muscular strength and endurance: A certain amount of muscular strength and endurance is necessary for us to live independent lives. It allows us to hold up the clippers as we trim our hedges, to walk up and down stairs with ease and to bicycle for an extended period without fatigue. It also keeps us independent as we age. Strong legs in later life mean we can get in and out of bed, the shower and use the toilet without assistance. When you have a good level of muscular strength you can move furniture on your own and carry heavy garbage cans to the curb with ease.
  • Keep bones strong: Both men and women are at risk of developing brittle bones as they age. Women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis after menopause, due to hormonal changes in the body. Weight bearing activity, such as lifting weights, can dramatically slow the rate of bone loss and may even reverse the process. Developing strong bones can help you to avoid the stooped posture that often accompanies older age. It will also lower your risk for bone fractures as a result of falls.
  • Boost your energy: When you are muscularly fit you are able to handle everyday tasks with ease and still have plenty of energy to run to the bus stop, play with your children or go dancing.
  • Improve your quality of life: Research shows that weight training improves self-esteem and self-confidence and can even help to relieve clinical depression

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