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Weight training

You wouldn’t consider your diet to be balanced if you ate only seafood or peanuts, right? Well, the same can be said for your exercise routine. Although doing cardio—activities like running or cycling that get your heart rate up—can certainly help keep your heart healthy, you also need to include resistance, or weight, training to get yourself in the best shape. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before you start training with weights.

How good is it?

Weight training strengthens your body from the inside out. As you begin to see leaner legs and slimmer arms on the outside, your routine is helping on the inside to reduce your blood pressure, lower your bad cholesterol, raise your good cholesterol, speed up your metabolism, improve your bone density and lower your risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

How do you do it?

Pick a weight that you can lift eight to 12 times without straining. Lift the weight to a count of two and then lower it slowly to a count of three or four. Exhale during the most strenuous part, or as you lift the weight, and inhale as you lower the weight. When lifting the weight 12 times no longer tires your muscles, increase the weight you’re lifting by 5 percent to 10 percent.

Give your body a proper break by working your major muscle groups—the arms, chest, back, abdominals, buttocks and leg muscles—only two times a week, with at least two days’ rest in between. In just a few months, you may notice your strength has increased by as much as 20 percent to 40 percent!