In what ways are you physically active? You may walk, play organized sports, work with a trainer, or participate in fitness classes. These options are very beneficial, but what about weight training?

Also known as resistance training, this type of exercise has many health benefits. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), weight training increases metabolic rate, helps burn fat, strengthens and tones muscles, and increases bone density. Strength and resistance training exercise is one of the four types of exercise along with endurance, balance and flexibility. All of these components result in a well-rounded exercise routine.

Some ladies may be hesitant to participate in weight lifting activities to avoid looking too muscular. Never fear! With moderate weight lifting, muscles will tone, but will not greatly increase in size. “In order for a woman to develop “bodybuilder” muscles, it would be necessary to exceed the recommended amount of strength training, take hormones and focus intensely on increasing muscle mass” (AHA).

Did You Know?

  • Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories (AHA).
  • The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week to lower the risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • If the whole body is engaged through several planes of motion, more work is achieved in less time (AHA).

Tips for Resistance Training at Home

  1. Potato Sack Deadlifts – hold a sack of potatoes and bend at the waist, lowering the potatoes. Lift the sack by squeezing the hamstrings and glutes. 3 sets, 15 repetitions.
  2. Island Press – Hold the edge of counter and do a push-up, making sure the back is straight and core is engaged. 3 sets, 15 repetitions.
  3. Soup Fly – hold a soup can in each hand and begin with arms down by your sides. Lift up both arms until they are parallel to the floor. 3 sets, 15 repetitions.
  4. Dish Wash Toe Raises – Stand tall and balanced with feet facing forward, raise heels as high as possible. Challenge yourself with weights.

Sources: The American Heart Association, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, LifeWork Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.