Strength Exercise

Strength exercise, or resistance training, includes either working out with weights (free weights or machines) or doing exercises that involve using your own body weight against itself, such as push-ups, lunges, sit-ups and dips. Think of strength exercise as a necessary part of age-related muscle loss and the sag of gravity. If Strength Exerciseyou don’t lift weights, your metabolism will slow down every year, as your muscles waste away.

It is a misconception that you should start with aerobic workouts and lose the fat first before adding weight lifting (strength exercise). The metabolism-boosting benefits of weight lifting are particularly important if you are cutting calories to lose weight. Low calorie dieting and aerobic exercise without weight lifting can make you lose lean body mass. You may lose weight but you’ll have poor muscle to fat ratio and a “soft” appearance. If you lift weights while cutting back on your calorie intake, you can preserve muscle and maintain your metabolism while losing fat.

Weight lifting is anaerobic and burns carbohydrates (sugars). Cardio is aerobic and therefore burns fat. Weight training increases your lean body mass; aerobic training does not.

  • Weight lifting is the key to developing strength and muscle. Fat loss occurs indirectly - if you increase lean body mass, you increase your metabolic rate and this makes it easier to burn fat, even while you are sleeping. It gives your body definition and firmness and strengthens bones.
  • Lifting makes you smaller because muscle is a very compact, dense tissue. At first you may not lose any weight. You may even gain a few pounds, because muscle weighs more per square inch than fat, but your clothes may fit better.
  • Lifting weight enhances your aerobic efforts. In order to trim your middle, you need to lose extra body fat, stored on top of- and under your abdominal muscles. For every pound of muscle you make, your body burns an extra 30 to 50 calories per day. You can eat more without gaining weight and are likely to keep the weight off. Experts recommend weight lifting before aerobic exercise.
  • Strength exercise boosts natural muscle-making chemicals such as the human growth hormone and preserves the muscles we have, while also replacing the muscle tissue we have lost with age.

You need to combine resistance training (strength exercise) with at least thirty minutes of cardio exercise (brisk walking, jogging, riding a stationary bike, swimming, tennis or even dancing) three to four times per week for twenty to sixty minutes. As little as one set of eight to ten repetitions per major body part results in significant gains in strength and muscle tone.

The more muscles you recruit in your weight lifting routine, the more lean tissue and the less toxin-trapping fat you will have.