Do you avoid the resistance machines or free weights at the gym and concentrate on the cardio equipment instead? When it comes to exercise we're often told that the best type to keep the heart healthy is cardiovascular activity - that is, exercise that gets you slightly out of breath and your heart pumping. Like pounding the treadmill or working up a sweat on the exercise bike.
But US experts have discovered working out with weights isn't just good for building muscle. According to researchers writing in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, resistance exercise (such as lifting weights) has important benefits for heart health too.
Working out with weights produces a specific pattern of blood vessel responses and increases blood flow to active muscles, the experts claim. And in tests they discovered weight workouts lead to a longer-lasting drop in blood pressure following an exercise session than cardio workouts.
Many women, however, avoid using weights as part of their workout because they believe it helps them bulk up rather than slim down. But using relatively light weights can be an effective part of any weight-loss exercise regime - and as you get older it's even more important to keep your muscles maintained with weights, since muscle mass declines with each passing year.
And don't forget you can add weights to almost any kind of workout, especially if you use the type that wrap around your ankles or your wrists.
Do you avoid the weights machines at the gym because you think they're only for men?