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Weight Training

If you think lifting weights is just for pumped-up hard-bodies who flex their “pecs” in public, think again. Building muscle benefits everyone — man or woman, at any age. In fact, older people may have the most to gain from weight or resistance training, because strength is so crucial to functioning independently.

Weight training will give you the strength and endurance to perform daily tasks more efficiently and safely — during work, errands and recreation. It can also:

  • improve your body’s muscle-to-fat ratio helping you burn calories more efficiently and lose weight;
  • help prevent injuries, especially to the arms, legs, and back;
  • balance aerobic exercise; and promote a smooth, toned appearance.

If you’re just beginning, talk with a professional who can help you test your strength and recommend the best exercises for your ability and objectives. Improper lifting or lifting too much at one time can cause injury.

Beginners should start under the guidance of a professional, and should attempt one set of each exercise using a weight appropriate to their abilities. Those at an intermediate or expert level should increase the number of sets to two and three, respectively.

Bench Press Chest 10
Bent-Over Rows Back 10
Quadriceps Extension Quadriceps 10
Upright Row Shoulders 10
Hamstring Curls Hamstrings 10
Abdominal Crunches Abdominal *
Biceps Curl Biceps 10
Toe Raises Calves 10
Triceps Extension Triceps 10
Wrist Curls Forearms 10

* Start with 70 percent of the maximum number you can perform in one minute (for example, if the most abdominal crunches you can do in one minute is 10, start by doing seven.)

Strengthening Strategies

  • First, get proper instruction on the best type, weight, and number of repetitions you should perform.
  • Try to include at least one exercise for each of the major muscle groups.
  • Work the larger muscle groups first (e.g., chest, back, quadriceps), then work the smaller groups.
  • Alternate among upper-body, lower-body, and trunk (abdominal) exercises.
  • Allow at least one day between weight-training sessions to enable muscle fibers to rejuvenate, but try to train at least twice a week.
  • Don’t overdo it. If you can’t perform 10 repetitions, then you’re probably trying to lift too much weight. Start with a lesser amount and work up.

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