As we age, we face the reality of weight gain. In the U.S., the incidence of obesity has skyrocketed and continues to climb. The CDC estimates that over one-third of Americans are obese. That includes millions of kids. Thankfully, even low to moderate levels of exercise, sports, or exertion at work can improve health. In fact, I would argue that you don't have to "exercise" at all. Instead, engage in a variety of activities and movements you enjoy.
But what does weight lifting have to do with weight management? It's a proven fact that weight lifting isn't great if you're looking to burn calories. It's much better for muscle building. In fact, exercise is not very effective for losing fat if your diet is out of control. But with a proper diet, adding the right kind of exercise can significantly improve your results. In fact, while resistance training doesn't burn many calories as compared to cardio, it does have one very significant advantage over the latter. Doing cardio alone can lead to a significant amount of muscle loss. And it is muscle that will keep your metabolism high as you age. This means that if you're wanting to burn fat and build muscle at the same time, a combination of weight lifting and cardio is best.
Research suggests that you can almost double the amount of calories you burn doing a workout by lifting lighter weights for more reps. For most of us, this means choosing a weight you can perform around 15-30 reps with. The key is to push yourself hard enough and use a circuit style of training. That is, you will progress from one exercise to the next without taking long breaks in between sets. When I train, I usually walk between sets. I don't like to stand or sit down. You'll get the most bang for your buck if you implement this training program no less than 2 times and no more than 4 times per week.
- Lift lighter weights.
- Do more reps.
- Take shorter breaks.
Also, make sure you find a cardio exercise that you enjoy. There are plenty of cardio options out there, so keep trying different ones until you find something you love to do. Take it from a novice lifter: You don't have to lift heavy. And remember: Safety comes first.