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Is using weights vital during exercise?

By February 7, 2009 - 1:59pm
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I saw a fitness person on TV recently saying that many of his clients only use weights for fitness and it works really well.

I only do cardio, on an eliptical machine so that it's a total body workout but I REALLY dislike weights and I'm very time limited. I know weights are important but are they really necessary?

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I just re-read your question, and you can add strength-training to your routine without necessarily using "weights"!

There are many ways to increase your strength and flexibility:
- Plyometrics
- Pilates and Yoga
- Calisthenics (using body as resistance instead of a free weight)

Do any of these sound like something more fun than using free weights or weight machines?

February 8, 2009 - 9:36am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Plyometrics and other full-body workouts are a great way to build strength and tone. I am currently going through the P90X workout series (you might have seen it advertised on late night tv), most of the workouts require only your body and occasionally a resistance band. I can honestly say that it is the hardest workout routine I have ever done. I've lost quite a bit of body fat and gained a lot of strength, all without picking up a single free-weight.

February 9, 2009 - 7:18pm

The best reasons for adding weight lifting to your exercise routine that I've read is that weight-bearing exercise can help reduce your risk for osteoporosis, and helps to increase bone strength.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), here are the benefits of strength training:

A well-designed strength-training program can provide the following benefits:

- Increased strength of bones, muscles and connective tissue (the tendons and ligaments), decreasing the risk of injury.

- Increased muscle mass. Most adults lose about one-half pound of muscle per year after the age of 20. This is largely due to decreased activity.

- Muscle tissue is partly responsible for the number of calories burned at rest (the basal metabolic rate or BMR). As muscle mass increases, BMR increases, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight.

- Enhanced quality of life. As general strength increases, the effort required to perform daily routines (carrying groceries, working in the garden) will be less taxing.

February 8, 2009 - 9:31am

I think it depends what your definition of "necessary" is!

For me, weight lifting has been the fastest way of changing my body shape. My muscles are stronger from lifting weights. I also run, and the cardio has different benefits than the weight lifting.

February 8, 2009 - 9:25am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello! I stumbled across this question and would like to add one thing: disliking weight training is one thing. Saying you are time-limited is another. I have a full body weight training program that I use 3 days a week. Instead of doing low weight/high reps, I use high weight/low reps. Using enough weight to fatigue my muscles in 8 - 12 reps max on the first set, then pumping out as many as possible on the second set (usually a few less than first set). Anyway, the whole program takes less than 30 minutes to complete. I see major results this way and very, very, VERY few women will ever "bulk up" like the male bodybuilders. Takes a lot of work and specialized nutrition for women to attain that type of physique.

That being said, if you don't like weight training, you will not stick with it. That is more important in the long run. As long as you have weight bearing exercise to help prevent the bone loss common in women, you should be fine.

February 8, 2009 - 8:56am
EmpowHER Guest

What a great question. I learned a lot of reading this article as well.

Any type of exercise is great for your health. There is much debate about this subject but I found some really great information on Discovery Health.com that explains in great details the advantages and disadvantages of cardio vs. weight training.

Check out this website http://health.discovery.com/centers/diet-fitness/cardio-vs-weight-training.html.

As you can see there are several advantages and disadvantages to each of the exercise regimes. I guess it would really depend on your preference if it is 'really that important to you'.

I tend to like to mix up my workouts. I hate running (although I force myself) I love to use weights, Yoga, aerobics and kick boxing. Krav Maga is fantastic. I started it about a month ago and it is great. It is a mixture of self defense and kick boxing. GREAT CARDIO.

Hope this helps.

February 7, 2009 - 2:32pm
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