Why is Weight Lifting Important for Overall Fitness?

Families, Food and Fitness November 14, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Weight lifting, resistance training, muscle strengthening, or strength training are all common terms used to describe types of exercise that help build lean body mass. These types of activities provide additional benefits not found with aerobic activity. The benefits of weight lifting include increased bone density and muscular strength. Muscle-strengthening activities can also help maintain muscle mass which is especially important when you are on a weight-loss program.


Man lifting weights

Strength training activities challenge muscles to do more work and to overload the muscle. You don't have to lift weights to do strength training. You can use resistance bands or even your own body weight by doing push-ups, pull-ups, or sit-ups. Muscle-strengthening activities for all the major muscle groups should be done at least two days a week.

Start slow by doing one to two sets of an exercise per body part. Select a weight that you can do 8 to 12 repetitions. As you progress, increase the number of sets as well as the weight you use. The goal is to continually challenge the muscle. Increases in the amount of weight or the days a week of exercising will result in stronger muscles.

Adding strength training to your exercise routine will have benefits to your overall health and fitness.



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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.