No workout program would be complete without weight lifting. Although you need aerobics to keep your heart and lungs in good working order, you need weight training to maintain your muscles and bones.
Weight lifting increases your strength, muscular endurance and muscle mass. (For hormonal reasons, men will always be able to build more muscle mass than women; women generally don’t “bulk up.”) Because muscle burns more calories than fat, this means that regular sessions in the weight room can boost your metabolism. And because muscle takes up less space than fat, you’ll look trimmer even if your weight stays the same.
Studies show that weight-bearing exercises (like weight lifting) can help make your bones stronger, lowering your osteoporosis risk and leaving you less vulnerable to fractures in the future.
To reap these benefits, you should never work the same muscle groups two days in a row; your muscles need time to repair and recover. Instead, wait at least a day or, if you want to lift weights every day, alternate working out your upper body (arms, shoulders, and upper back) and your lower body (gluteus muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves).
Other advantages: Weight lifting is easy and convenient — you’ll find weights in every gym, or you can buy free weights for your own home gym. What’s more, lifting weights can lift your spirits. A recent study found that strength training improved mood in people suffering from depression. It also seemed to help them sleep better.
Other studies show that people tend to become more physically active once they start weight training, perhaps because their increased strength makes other activities easier and more enjoyable.