Lift Weight to Lose Weight

Not losing any weight even though you're watching your calories and exercising regularly? Try this.

Bump up your weight training. Every decade, adults lose 5-7 pounds of muscle mass as a result of aging. Because muscle is responsible for most caloric burning, this lost muscle mass means that the body burns fewer calories for energy and stores more calories for fat. This age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, can be counteracted with weight training. It's that simple.

The proof. Studies have shown that adults who do strength training 3 days a week increase their muscle mass and their daily caloric expenditure by approximately 200 calories. Burning an extra 200 calories a day will add up to one pound of weight loss in 2 1/2 weeks. The average adult loses 4 pounds of fat weight after 10-12 weeks of weight training. Strength training also increases calorie burn for the few days after a strength training bout.

In addition to weight loss, strength training lowers LDL cholesterol, raises HDL cholesterol, and improves total cholesterol. Weight training also improves functional ability and mood.

Here's how. Use a weight that seems somewhat hard to lift. That's probably a good start. Lift that weight to the count of 2 and lower it to the count of 4. Do that 8-15 times. When you are able to lift the same weight 15 times with ease, add a little more weight, but lift it only on 8-10  times. Over time, work your way up to 15 repetitions and when you are ready, add more weight. Repeat.

If you are unsure about strength training, consult an exercise professional.