Column: Resistance training is good

Published 3:49 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

By Staff
Today resistance training (weight training/strength training) is all over our televisions, magazines, and newspapers.
Fortunately more and more people are finding out the important benefits of resistance training. In the past we have been told that cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise is the best way to go. It was only the "big" men who were in power lifting contests that would lift weights. Women were scared of getting big like the men, so it was pounded in their heads time after time to only do aerobic exercises. Fortunately within the last couple of years the popularity of weight lifting/strength training has shifted to just as many women.
The following are some answers on why to lift weights:
Increased bone density – Resistance training has shown to help increase bone mineral density. This is important because it helps in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Improved body composition – Weight training increases your percent of lean body mass which is a positive considering more than 50 percent of Americans are overweight.
Increases metabolism – For every pound of lean muscle mass you gain it is estimated that you will increase your metabolism between 30 and 40 calories. This is a pretty good deal. If you were to gain five pounds of muscle, you could increase your caloric intake to a possible 150 calories per day. But beware; if you stop resistance training and lose those five pounds of muscle, then you are down those 150 allowable calories per day.
Improve your functioning capacity – Once again weight strengthening is not just for those big body builders. Weight training can help the average everyday person with everyday tasks such as: lifting groceries, doing housework, caring around grandchildren.
Lets look at a few good strategies to start off your weight program:
1. Ask Questions – go to a place like the YMCA that has knowledgeable staff to help you get use to the machines and teach you what is best for you.
2. Start light – do not go crazy right off the bat. Start light and get use to the feel of the weights.
3. Have a program – Set goals (short, mid, and long term). Have a personal trainer design a program to your needs.
4. Lift slowly – beginner or advanced lifting slowly will help you achieve your goals. Lifting quickly will only help you develop momentum.
5. Learn how to adjust the machines – this is a key component for lifting properly. A trainer can help show you how to set the machines to each person's body.
6. Do not give up – everything takes time. After a couple of weeks change your routine. After awhile your body gets use to what it is doing so by changing it you can trick your body and see results again. By changing your routine around it will also help with boredom.
With all of this in mind there in no reason why we all should not be doing some type of resistance training. Of course you still need to keep up the cardiovascular and the healthy eating routine. This all might seem like a lot to do, but just imagine how much better you could feel. For all of us who are too busy, you can do a beneficial routine including both resistance training and cardiovascular training within one hour. That is not a big price to pay for your health.
Thought of the week
Take time to work, it is the price of success.
Sign up for August hard hat tours of the new Niles-Buchanan YMCA.