By Rose Reisman
- We all know that exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular exercise has huge benefits: it burns calories, keeps your heart and lungs healthy, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
However, we shouldn't forget that weight training is also important for our health. It’s not just for body builders! In fact, everyone should try to make moderate weight training part of their weekly routine.
Weight training builds muscle, and muscle burns calories. This means that building muscle can boost your metabolism, and that’s going to help you maintain a healthy weight.
Not only will weight training help keep your body fit, but studies have shown that lifting weights regularly can keep your mind healthy too. Weight-bearing exercise improves your mood, wards off depression, and helps you maintain regular sleep patterns.
Lifting weights helps you age gracefully. For post-menopausal women especially, weight training is key to preventing the natural loss of bone density, which can lead to serious injury through bone fracture. You’ll be more independent for a lot longer with strong bones.
Weight training also improves your balance. This makes you less likely to fall, and more likely to escape injury if you do fall, which is important because as we age, falls become a greater threat to our health. For those who suffer from arthritis, regular weight training also has the benefit of reducing arthritis pain.
Weight machines and free weights are a great way to strength train. Despite what you may have heard, nearly everyone can practice with free weights or weight machines. Most gyms will happily give you a tutorial on how to use the machines, while free weight fitness routines can be found online, or in any health magazine, like Shape or Men’s Health or Women’s Health.
There are also ways to get the benefits of weight training without pumping iron. Hatha Yoga builds muscle as well as flexibility. Pilates is also a form of weight training.
For the simpler route, you can weight train using your own body weight at home by doing things such as crunches, pushups, squats, and lunges. If you are a fan of jogging, try running with wrist and ankle band weights on your arms and legs. Try punching the air, lifting your arms over your head several times, and making a rowing motion with your arms as you jog. If you’re a swimmer, you can also try swimming with wrist and ankle weights—it’s exhausting, but the benefits are phenomenal.
is an entrepreneur whose strength lies in recognizing the ever-changing needs of the wellness marketplace. She is an author, health and wellness consultant, caterer, public speaker, media personality, and mother of four children. For more articles like this one, please visit http://www.artoflivingwell.ca/