Q & A Library
Choosing the Right Weights?
I'm a middle-aged man in good health. What machines at the gym will benefit me most?
Answer (Published 9/21/2004)
An ideal workout should include three different types of exercise: aerobic for cardiovascular conditioning and calorie burning, stretching or yoga for flexibility, and strength training to tone muscles and build strength. I recommend a brisk 45-minute daily walk as the best aerobic exercise. Your pace should be fast enough to walk a mile in 15 minutes.
I asked fitness expert, Dan Bornstein, what machines are most useful for a middle-aged man. He recommends "multi-joint" exercises, explaining that the more joints you're moving, the more muscles you're working. If you haven't worked out using machines before, ask one of the trainers on the floor at the gym to show you the ropes and help you determine how much weight to use on each machine. Even better, if you can afford it, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to teach you proper form. Here are Dan's specific recommendations:
Dan recommends doing two sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise using a weight heavy enough so that your muscles are tired by the time you've completed two sets. If the two sets are easy, you're not using enough weight; if you have trouble maintaining proper form through both sets, you're using too much weight.
Good luck with your new workout program.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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