There is a myth that using weights can cause women to bulk up, but the fact is, using light or medium weights will not have this effect. So, if visions of a burly body builder pop into your head when you think of strength training, it's time to change your mind, because getting stronger will help you get slim quicker than aerobic exercise alone.
Burn, Baby, Burn!
Research has shown that those who followed a strength training program for two months burned, on average, about 200 calories more per workout than those whose exercise regimen did not include strength training.
The benefits of strength training even continue when you're at rest. Your metabolism stays raised for some time after you workout, even if you are inactive. While some questionable diet supplements may promise to help you "lose weight while you sleep," exercise keeps that promise!
More Reasons to Pump it Up
Building muscle brings plenty of additional benefits, including:
- increasing endurance and flexibility
- protecting, and possibly reducing pain in, joints
- increasing bone mass (which helps prevent fractures and degeneration from osteoporosis)
- increasing your energy level
Doing exercises like sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups are components of strength training, so they're a good place to start if you don't currently do any form of strength training. You can also do your own modified version of weight lifting with household items if you can't afford a set of dumb bells right now: Hold a can of soup in each hand and do some chest-flies and curls. Move up to heavier items a little bit at a time at a time. Try filling up a small milk or water bottle with some sand or kitty litter and then increase the amount in time.