Exercising with weights

Exercising with weights

You don’t have to be big and burly to train with weights.


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Regular training using weights will:

  • Help you build your strength, making everyday tasks easier
  • Improve bone density which can help slow the effects of ageing
  • Make your posture better, reducing back and neck pain
  • Boost your metabolism so that you burn body fat more quickly
  • Improve your cardiovascular health by reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol
  • Help with muscle condition so you appear leaner
  • Reduce wear and tear on your joints by strengthening ligaments and tendons

Boosting your metabolism

When you train using weights, the amount of energy you burn rises five to 10 times above your body’s resting level.

This in turn speeds up your metabolism and means you burn fat for around two to six hours after you’ve finished exercising.

Weight-training also has longer-term benefits for your metabolism. As your muscles become firmer, they start contracting a little bit all the time, so your body is essentially always ready for exercise. This means your muscles react faster and you are burn up more energy as you are keeping them activated.

This can help prevent the dreaded ‘middle-age spread’, which happens as your metabolic rate decreases as you get older. This can result in a 7kg increase in body weight every decade, which can be countered by regular resistance training.

According to research, an 80 year old who has regularly trained with weights over their lifetime will maintain most of their muscle tissue as they get older, which offsets the effects of a slowing metabolism.

It also helps improve bone density, as it stimulates our bone-building cells, called osteoblasts) which in turn reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis or brittle bones. This is particularly important for women who are going through the menopause.

Combining weight training with aerobic exercise can help reduce blood pressure and hypertension, which is an increasing problem due to ever higher levels of pressure in the workplace.

Research has also found that blood cholesterol often shows improvement after a few months of training using weights, and that it can help with posture.

Many of us spend the majority of our working lives sitting behind a desk, which can lead to back and neck pain.

A well-designed weight training programme can ensure your body remains balanced and will help you maintain healthy spinal and pelvic alignment. This can not only improve posture but also organ function, as it improves blood flow.

The muscle myth

Don’t assume that as soon as you start training with weights, you’ll start developing large unsightly muscles.

Most of us, especially women, don’t have the hormones required to create exaggerated muscle definition and growth.

If you stick to light weights, using repetitions of 15 to 20 times at each workout your muscles will become toned but not bulky.

 


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