The term weight training may conjure images of muscle-bound gym goers lifting heavy barbells, but it’s actually a very important exercise for all ages and levels of fitness. It can help reverse age-related declines in muscle mass, improve balance and enhance bone strength in a way aerobic activity cannot. And, it may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by strengthening the heart muscles, according to some studies. It’s also an effective tool for losing weight and reducing body fat, as well as fighting chronic diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.

In addition, the muscle mass gained through weight training can help maintain and even improve joint flexibility, which can make movement easier. As a result, it’s not surprising that many experts recommend incorporating weight training into any exercise routine.

A basic weight program includes exercises that target the major muscles of the body, such as the abdominals, biceps, deltoids (shoulders), quadriceps (front thighs), triceps and hamstrings. Generally, beginners should start with one set of eight to 12 repetitions for each of these muscle groups per session. Rest two to three days between each weight workout. This allows the muscles to recover and prepare for your next session.

Some people will train to fatigue or “burn out” their muscles, but this is not recommended. When you work to fatigue, your muscles break apart the fibers of the muscle and it takes longer for them to repair and rebuild. You’re also more likely to get injured when you push yourself too hard.

If you’re new to weight training weight training Durham CA, the best option is to find a personal trainer or coach who can teach you proper technique and tailor a program to your specific needs. They can show you the correct form and help prevent injuries, which is especially important if you’re using free weights at home or at a gym where you don’t have the benefit of a spotter.

A trainer can also be helpful if you’re trying to achieve specific goals, such as building muscle or burning fat. In general, it’s a good idea to look for someone who has a certification from a national organization and has a solid understanding of exercise science and nutrition.

When working out, be sure to warm up with some cardio to increase your heart rate and stretch out any stiffness before lifting. Aim for about 10 minutes of cardio before starting your weight routine, and another five to ten minutes of stretching after each session. Finally, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially one that involves weight training. They can advise you on the safety of weight training for your age and health history, and make recommendations about how often to do it. They can also refer you to a physical therapist or orthopedic specialist for guidance, if needed.