Strength training not only tones muscles, it reduces fat, speeds metabolism, increases endurance, improves posture, strengthens bones, and cuts your risk of injury. And you're never too old or too out of shape to benefit. Consider:
- Tufts University put a group of elderly nursing-home residents on a strength-training regimen. They all more than doubled their strength. Four people traded in their walkers for canes after 10 weeks.
- In another Tufts study, a group of postmenopausal women on a twice-weekly strength-training routine performed at levels comparable to women 15 to 20 years younger. They pumped up their muscle power 35 to 76 percent and, as a result, burned 442 more calories each week while at rest.
- A Brigham Young University study found that 30 women who did nine basic strength-training exercises three times a week for 12 weeks cut their daily fat intake to 30 percent of total calories. The control group of women that stretched instead of strengthening made no improvements, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Continued on page 2: Getting Started