For adults, especially those over the age of forty, resistance physical activity is essential to maintain health. Resistance physical activities include lifting weights, yoga, and using bands. Benefits are numerous and include maintaining metabolism (preventing weight gain), reducing cardiovascular risk, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, maintaining strength and functionality, increasing bone density and improving physique.
An “uplifting” new report found that you can reap all of the benefits of weight lifting without lifting heavy weights. Investigators determined that the key to building muscle (the ultimate goal of resistance exercise) is muscle fatigue, not the amount of weight you lift. You can lift much lighter weights (in this study as little as 30% of max.) with the same benefits as much heavier weights (90% of max.) as long as reps were continued to the point of muscle fatigue. For most study subjects, it took at least 24 reps using the lighter weights to reach fatigue. (PLoS ONE, Aug 2010) Engage in some form of resistance activity at least twice a week for best results.