When Marian Cass of Long Island, New York, turned 50, her doctor gave her a prescription she wasn’t expecting: weight train twice a week.
“I have always been pretty fit for my age,” says the 63-year-old retired medical professional. “I walk at least five days a week, go to my favorite dance class on Saturday mornings, and swim every day in the summer.” While her doctor acknowledged the benefits of her preferred cardiovascular exercise, he said adding strength training to her routine would help boost her metabolism, strengthen her bones, and improve her balance—something that would help prevent falls as she aged.
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Cass started working out with a trainer twice a week and was almost immediately impressed with the results. “Within a month, I felt stronger, had way more energy, and was even fitting into dresses I hadn’t worn in years,” she says. “Now, years later, I still lift weights three times a week and have no plans to stop.”
Cass’s results are fairly typical, too. According to countless studies, weight training offers incredible benefits, particularly as we age. But if like Cass, you’re about to start lifting for the first time, and you’re over 40, you shouldn’t just pick up a set of weights and go. Armed with the 5 pointers below, you’ll get better results and stay safe while you lift so you can make strength training a life long habit.