Pump Up Your Health With Strength Training

Lifting weights has all kinds of benefits.

Bodybuilders aren’t the only ones who should pump iron.

Working out with weights, bands or machines—also known as resistance or strength training—helps your body's most important systems work at their peak. Strength training also may protect you from the side effects of some cancers.

Why is strength training so crucial? It offers big benefits. Here's why you should add it in your workout regimen:

—Strength training aids in weight loss. People associate aerobic exercise with weight loss, but strength training helps you shed pounds, too—with the added benefit of building healthy, lean muscles.

—It gives your metabolism a boost, helping your body turn food into energy.

—It builds bone density. Bones become frail as we age. Strength training can help us avoid the bone-wasting effects of aging.

—It helps improve and maintain physical function. We lose muscle mass as we age, which makes it difficult to perform daily activities, such as carrying loaded laundry baskets and climbing stairs. Strength training can help maintain these abilities.

—It helps cancer survivors cope with some of the energy-draining side effects of treatment.

Customize your strength-training plan and start slowly. Whether you've spent years in the weight room or you're a beginner, shoot for two or three strength-training sessions a week (in addition to moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise). During each session, do a series of 10 exercises that target all your muscle groups. And, no, ladies—strength-training won't make you bulk up. Talk to a personal trainer about what makes a good training routine.

Read more about why lifting weights is important at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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(Photo: Adrianna Williams/Getty Images)

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