Milk might do a body good, but so does weight training.  Nevertheless, some women are scared to begin weight training.  They fear they’ll bulk up, or they think weight training is something only body builders and professional athletes do.

The truth is weight training, also known as resistance training, provides the body with a number of health benefits including:

  • Building and maintain bone density and preventing osteoporosis.
  • Helping maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Building strength and preventing the body from loosing muscle mass as we age.
  • Boosting your metabolism so you can burn calories faster.
  • Easing arthritis and back pain.
  • Releasing endorphins in the brain, elevating mood.
  • Helping maintain healthy blood pressure.

dumb bellIn addition, your body will build lean muscle, a muscle type that’s difficult for the body to maintain with age.  However, if you would prefer to build bulk, there are techniques for doing this.  Because you will be lifting much heavier weights, a spotter is recommended, and condition your body for several weeks before beginning.

Weight training can be started at any age.  Studies have shown that senior citizens who do resistance training are healthier than those who do not.  Training also can be done in conjunction with other exercises.

Weight training benefits every part of the body from arms and legs to abdominal muscles, back and chest.

How to Get Started with a Weight-Training Routine

Interested in starting a weight-training routine?  Here are four tips to get you started.

1.  Start Slow

Don’t push yourself or you will risk injury.  Instead, start slowly and work your way up to heavier weights and additional reps.  You also should incorporate a warm-up and cool- down period into your routines.

Wait three minutes between each exercise and 48 hours between weight-training sessions to allow your muscles enough time to recover.  Muscles grow and strengthen during rest periods so it’s important to allow the body time to do this important job.

Begin by working the larger muscle groups before the shorter ones.  This is because shorter muscle groups tire more easily.

2.  Weight Matters

Choose too light of a weight and you won’t challenge yourself.  Choose too heavy of a weight and you risk injury.  The correct weight will be different for each individual.  Test out the weights at the store before you buy.  If you can lift one multiple times easily, it’s too light.  If you can barely lift it, it’s too heavy.

When working out, you will want to work until you feel your muscles tire.  That is to say, you should feel as if you can’t do another rep without stopping or cheating.  This technique works well in changing muscle fibers.

3.  Shake it up

Weight training doesn’t have to be boring.  Try different routines and used different equipment.  You can achieve the same results by using a combination of free weights (barbells and dumbbells), your own body weight, elastic bands, bars and machines.

Over time, you’ll also want to increase the weight you’re using.  For example, if you start using five pound weights, once completing your routine becomes easy you should switch to eight-pound weights.  This is because your body gets used to the amount of weight you’re lifting.  You would cease to build strength and would merely be maintaining it.

4.  Know the Terminology

In the weight training world, a “set” is used as a synonym for exercise and a “rep” is the number of times you perform an exercise.

When a person’s muscles are untrained, starting with one set is enough to increase strength.  After a few months, though, the body will become accustomed to these routines and additional sets will need to be added.

For beginners, it is recommended to do 8-12 reps to minimize the risk of injury.

If you don’t feel comfortable starting your own workout routine at home, think about joining a gym and seeking the expertise of a fitness trainer.

Have any of your own tips? Leave them in the comments below.

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  • Lexy Cruz

    I really like the “Know Your Terminology” section. I learned a lot there!