By Abigail L. Cuffey
Don't fear the dumbbells-strength training is not only beneficial for women, it's essential. As women age, they naturally lose muscle that's important for overall body functioning, says Polly de Mille, a clinical exercise physiologist and administrative director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Incorporating strength training-which means using some sort of resistance to get stronger-into your weekly routine will replace this necessary muscle. And don't worry: Contrary to popular belief, you won't end up looking like Mr. T!
Not sure it's for you? Think again. Here are the full-body health benefits:
1. Bone density
Weight-bearing exercise is the way to go in order to build strong bones and avoid fractures, says Felicia Cosman, MD, president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
2. Brain function
In a recent study of women ages 65 to 75, those who did just an hour or two of strength