You know the magical payoffs that a little sweat can deliver, like a healthier heart, stronger bones, and a boost in energy. But knowledge doesn't always translate into action — not if your knees ache, you're too tired, or you're just plain bored with your workout. These five research-backed strategies can turn exercise from need to into want to — for life. Pick up some weights
There's nothing like visible results to make you stick with a workout routine — and when you see what strength-training does for your body, you won't want to stop. Bones and muscles atrophy as you age, but lifting weights can slow or reverse the decline, says Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., director of the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University.
Nelson's research shows that postmenopausal women who strength-trained twice a week for a year increased their bone density by up to 2 percent, added nearly 3 pounds of muscle, and lost about the same amount of body fat. "Biologically, they were 10 to 15 years younger than women who just went about their daily lives," says Nelson.
When women pick up dumbbells, they often get more active in the rest of their lives, too. "Once they're stronger, all activity becomes easier," Nelson says. Chains such as Curves and organizations like the YMCA make it easy to start.
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