In comparison to walking programs, strength-training programs are more effective in increasing muscle mass and bone density, with as little as two half-hour sessions per week. In addition, strength training provides benefits similar to aerobic exercise such as decreasing depression, improving sleep, helping with weight management and decreasing body fat.
If you are walking an hour every day, six days a week, substitute a portion of your walking time with strength training to receive the maximum benefit from exercise. For example, on three of the six days, decrease your walking time to a half-hour and reserve the second half-hour for strengthening exercises. On the other three days, continue to walk for the full hour. It is important to take a day off in between strength-training sessions. Walking everyday, whether strength training or not, is fine.
At home — To start a program at home, you will need to purchase equipment and instructional materials. My two books, “Strong Women Stay Young” and “Strong Women Stay Slim,” outline at-home strength training program. The second book also includes nutrition and aerobic exercise components.
At a fitness facility — To utilize the equipment provided at gyms and health clubs, it is important to receive instruction from a trainer on staff before starting a program. Be sure to ask your questions as they come up.
Using a personal trainer — Either at home or at a fitness facility, you may also want to work one-on-one with a personal trainer who can give added motivation, guidance and instruction. You can find personal trainers through local gyms and health clubs, or in the phone book.