Strength training is an important part of any fitness program. In combination with cardiovascular exercise, strength training greatly improves muscular capabilities and endurance. Your body becomes fit and toned and you become much better equipped to successfully manage the mechanical stresses and strains encountered during the course of a normal day. Strength training helps you: 1. Increase muscle mass. - Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age, so it is vital to actively work at maintaining strength throughout your life. 2. Protect bone health. - By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. 3. Control your weight. - Not only does strength training aid in reducing kilos, it helps maintain weight loss too. As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently. 4. Manage chronic conditions. - Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. 5. Improve your mood. - Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which will make you feel great. If you are new to strength training or haven’t done any in a while, then its important to start slowly. You don’t need to spend hours lifting weights to benefit from strength training. As with all exercise programs, the more consistent you are, the greater long-term benefit you’ll receive. Remember that with strength training your muscles need time to recover, so it should only be done on alternate days. Also be careful to listen to your body. While mild muscle soreness is normal, sharp pain and sore of swollen joints are signs that you’ve overdone it. If you have any health concerns, ask your health professional what type of strength training best meets your requirements. You can also work with a fitness expert to design a strength-training program that will be safe and effective for you.