Aerobic activity, such as walking or cycling, is tops for calorie burning, but strength training may actually be more crucial for keeping off weight as you age. “After midlife, you lose 5 to 10 pounds of muscle per decade, which dramatically reduces how many calories your body burns,” says Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at Quincy College in Quincy, Mass “Resistance training helps offset that loss, and research shows that your resting metabolic rate stays elevated 5 to 9 percent for up to 72 hours after a session.” That means if you work out with weights on only two days, you’ll reap the rewards of an elevated metabolism all week long. Put a routine together with these tips from Westcott.
Design Your Plan–Choose three lower-body moves (legs and glutes), three for your upper body (back, shoulders, arms, and chest) and two or three for your core (abs and lower back). In Westcott’s research, people did the following exercises: leg extensions, leg curls, leg press, chest press, lat pulldowns, shoulder press, abdominal curls, low-back extensions, and torso rotations. A trainer can guide you or you can design a routine by using the online library of the American Council on Exercise, at acefitness.org.
Choose Your Resistance–Bands, medicine balls, strength training machines, or free weights such as dumbbells all work equally.
Use enough weight–Do 8 to 12 repetitions of each move. If you can’t do eight reps, you’re using too much resistance. When you’re able to do more than 12 reps, add 5 percent more weight. Repeat the suggested reps of each exercise once. Rest 90 seconds to 2 minutes, then do another set. Do the workout twice per week.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health June 2017
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