Strength training builds fat-burning muscles, improves joints and bones, and increases balance and coordination.
Program: A good strength training program works all of your muscles in an organized fashion, including chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdominals, and lower body. Choose one or two exercises for each muscle group, e.g., push ups for the chest muscles, and back extensions for the back. Begin with the large muscles, and progress to the small ones.
Weights: For exercises with weights, start light. Do two to three sets of about a dozen repetitions, resting a minute or two between sets. Use enough weight so that it is a challenge to complete each set, but do not push yourself beyond a reasonable limit.
Schedule: Strength training is best done two to three times a week. The days off give your muscles time to rest and rebuild. Daily training is fine if you alternate muscle groups.
Gym or Home: Joining a local gym is a good idea. You'll get guidance on how to exercise, and you'll have access to a variety of equipment. A simple and effective routine with free weights, or barbells, can be done at home – you can even start with soup cans. Pick up a book or video, or search online for instructions.
Warm Up: Warming up prior to strength training sessions is important to prevent injury. A few minutes of cardio to work up a light sweat increases blood flow and makes muscles suppler. Cool down afterwards with stretches.