If your hand weights hold down a full-time job as doorstops, it's time to dust them off — and not just to score nice arms. Strength training can fire up your metabolism (more muscle burns more calories) and ward off osteoporosis. Surprisingly, research is showing that the workout may also reduce diabetes risk and help lower blood pressure.
How to Use the Exercises in This List:
1. Start with 5-pound weights. You can graduate to something a bit heavier when the last rep of each exercise feels easy.
2. Run through the circuit, moving quickly between exercises. Take a 60-second break, then repeat the circuit once more.
3. For best results, do the workout three times a week, with a day off in between.
During the first six to eight weeks, your brain-to-muscle neural pathways are learning the movements needed to lift weights, letting you lift a little more each session. After that, as you continue to strength train, muscles become stronger and larger. But there's no need to worry about bulking up: Women don't make enough testosterone for Hulk-like results.