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Strength Training

A comprehensive exercise program should include three elements, all of which have equal importance, and they include cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and strength.  Each of these components complements the other.  As you begin to lose body fat it is important to not only increase your fat-free body mass but to maintain muscle tone and strength in those areas which are not involved in your cardiovascular workout such as the upper body.

Benefits of Strength Training in Weight Management
1. Weight training prevents injury  - Although walking is low impact and safe, however, may of you may experience discomfort in several areas such as ankles, knees, hips and lower back.  Strengthening your muscles with resistance training will support and protect your joints and reduce the chance of injury to these areas.

2. Resistance training can enhance performance – By strengthening your legs and buttocks, this will improve your walking stride and provide the power necessary for brisk walking.  By strengthening your upper body, this will improve the force with which your arms swing during walking.  Strong abdominal muscles will help you to maintain your posture during walking and good walking posture in key in preventing fatigue and injury to the back muscles.  Therefore, you will be permitted to walk farther, faster and longer!!!

3. Resistance training will help prevent osteoporosis – This is not only important in women, it is also important in men.  A low bone density can lead to brittle, weak and porous bones and increase your chances of fracture, even if your exercise program is low impact.  Several respected professional organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine have recommended a combination of weight bearing aerobic exercise; supplements such as calcium, vitamin D and protein reach diets; as well as regular strength training.
Strength training will cause the muscles you train to pull on bones.  This places stress on the joints and bones that the muscles attach to and signals them to stimulate and preserve bone material.  Keep in mind that strength training is “site  specific” therefore, you can emphasize individual areas of you body, namely hips,  thighs and shoulders, which are target areas for fractures as you get older.

 4.  Most Important!! Strength training will help you lose weight as well as maintain the weight loss -  This operates on the basic principle “ Muscle tissue requires more energy to maintain compared with fat tissue, therefore the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn throughout your day”.  For every 1 pound of muscle you gain, you can burn an extra 150 calories per day.  One common barrier for individuals including strength training in their programs is the belief that it will cause them to “bulk up”.  Although you may notice the needle on the bathroom scale may not creep downward as quickly as you would like it to if you use a tape measure you will find that you are still losing inches.  Keep in mind that “MUSCLE IS DENSER THAN FAT, THEREFORE IT TAKES UP LESS ROOM”.  The more muscular you are, the tighter, firmer and thinner you appear.