|Weight Training and Resistance Training For Fast Weight Loss and Osteoporosis Prevention
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Weight Training and Resistance Training For Fast Weight Loss and Osteoporosis Prevention
Dr. Earl Mindell's Wellness Update
What about weight training and other forms of resistance training? Earlier recommendations were clear on the importance of resistance exercise, both for weight loss and for osteoporosis prevention. Muscle uses up more energy than fat even when you're sitting still. It follows that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you're going to burn when you're sitting around doing nothing. In other words, greater muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
This is definitely true, but let's be realistic about how much the time you spend pumping iron is really going to pay off in the form of weight loss, improved health, and longer life. The average person isn't physically able to put on very much extra muscle weight-maybe two or three pounds-and doing so gets harder with age. Women have an especially difficult time putting on muscle weight. Besides, most women I've encountered don't want to bulk up-they want to "sculpt" and slim down. And no amount of resistance training is going to sculpt a body that is padded all over with excess fat. The washboard abs and the perfect posterior are underneath the fat, and fat has to be shed before they'll show through.
Unless you're truly interested in bulking up or are in need of improved muscular power for a sport or injury recovery, use resistance training as part of your aerobic workout. Try circuit training, where you do 12 to 16 repetitions of each of several exercises at a low resistance. Immediately move on to another exercise that uses different muscle groups. This will keep your heart rate at or near target range, and will help to keep your whole body strong and flexible. Make this part of your 60 minutes of exercise two to three times a week. You can do this even if you don't have a gym membership or a set of weights; do exercises that utilize body weight as resistance, such as push-ups (use the wall if your arms aren't strong enough to do the traditional kind), lunges, squats (put your back against a wall and step your heels about 18 inches from the wall and bend your knees until they've reached 90 degrees, keeping your weight back so that you're fully leaning back onto the wall, then straighten your legs again), and stomach crunches. Hire a trainer for a few sessions if you feel lost when trying to do these sorts of exercises.
You should stretch every time you exercise. Two or three minutes spent stretching major muscle groups should serve to keep you limber and free of injury. Practice deep breathing and relaxation during stretching sessions.
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