Strength training is important for so much in our daily lives.
Strength training is important to help us be more prepared for our daily lives. It helps keep us strong so that when the need arises for us to use some strength we still have it. It is easy to neglect our fitness, especially weight training, in our modern age where we do not even have to move from our desk chair if we don't want to. Many that suffer from back pain shoulder pain etc. are in pain because their muscles are weak and not used enough; weight training can help strengthen those muscles.
You should do activities to strengthen your muscles at least 2 days a week. Some people do weight training 5 days a week. It all depends on your goals and fitness levels. If you are new to strength training, then 30 minutes 2 times a week may be enough to get you started and; as you get more experienced you may increase the amount of days, time or both.
These activities should work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, butt, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms). Give each body part at least one day rest before you work it again. If you are going to the gym 5 or 6 days a week then you can either switch from upper body to lower body every other day or you can focus on specific body parts each day. For example one day might be chest, one day back, one day arms, one day legs and maybe add in abs with a few of those days as well.
A common myth many women worry about is that if they are weight training or lifting heavy that they will bulk up like a man. This is actually very, very rare. Weight training actually creates that lean toned look that so many women are striving for. Cardio will help keep the lungs and heart working great and will help get rid of some of that extra body fat; but you need to balance it out with weight training. Did you know, the more muscle mass we have the more calories we burn while at rest? That is why those who weight train regularly can usually eat more. Their bodies are fuel-burning machines. For a woman to get the body builder physic she usually needs to be eating a TON of fuel as well as supplements to help her bulk. So if you are one of those women who fears this then go talk to a trainer, have them look at your body type, more than likely you are not going to look like the Hulk from lifting weights, more likely you will create a Wonder Woman body.
For a normal healthy adult, weight-training activities are usually done to the point where it's hard for you to do another repetition without help. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, such as lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. Aim for 8-12 repetitions per activity that counts as 1 set. Aim for at least 1 set of muscle-strengthening activities per body part, but to gain even more benefit, do 2 or 3 sets. If you are doing a 12 rep set then you should be lifting heaving enough that on the 10th rep you are really struggling to get the last two done. This is a general rule and depends on your body type and what you are aiming to accomplish.
You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days that you do aerobic activity, whatever works best. Just keep in mind that strength activities don't count toward your aerobic activity.
There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or the gym. For weight training look at what your objective is. For instance if you are a dancer you would want weight training exercises that would strengthen you to be a better dancer. This way of training will also keep you more interested in your weight training. Think about it, if you are thinking about how much fun you are going to be having dancing as you get stronger, the weight training takes on a whole new appeal.
Questions to ask yourself:
How often do you weight train? What has kept you from pushing yourself in weight training? What kind of activities do you want to participate in (i.e.: dancing, playing around with the kids etc) and how can you support that? (i.e., build up your legs to be able to dance longer)
Weight training is a great way to support the activities you love to do or can be a great sport in itself. Weight training can get you stronger to live a more active life. So in general it is just a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Do not be fooled into thinking that weight training is only suitable for big men wanting to bulk up. It can give women nice shape and more importantly it just makes you more prepared to handle whatever life throws at you.