While endurance training, such as walking, running and swimming is important to overall good health, fitness and weight control, it's important not to forget about the other part of a good work out--strength training. Strength training isn't just about sculpting your body and increasing your muscle definition. This type of training offers a number of health benefits for all ages and body types.

What is strength training?

Strength training is a broad term that refers to exercises that concentrate on one area of the body, such as push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and squats and resistance training as with bands or tubes. Strength training also includes working with barbells and free weights as well as exercise machines like an elliptical or rowing machine.

Benefits of strength training

1. Helps to keep weight off. Adding strength training to your workout at least three times a week helps to burn extra calories and makes keeping those extra pounds at bay a lot easier.

2. Promotes overall good health. Strength training isn't just good for your muscles and bones. A regular strength training regime can help to lower your blood pressure and increases the body's need for glucose, something that can help ward off the onset of diabetes.

3. Increases strength. As the name would imply, strength training makes you stronger and helps to make everyday tasks easier. Stronger muscles also help to reduce the likelihood of muscle strains and tendon damage when you do use your muscles. Toned muscles also help increase a person's overall power and coordination.

4. Helps to protect your bones. As people age, they naturally lose bone mass. Strength training helps to preserve bone mass and even reverse damage that has already been done.

5. Boosts your metabolism. Regular strength training also ramps up your metabolism, causing your body to burn more calories.

6. Evens out stress. Regular exercise, including strength training, helps to keep the stress of everyday work and life demands from getting to be overwhelming. Rigorous exercise causes the body to release endorphins, hormones that helps to regulate mood.

7. Builds muscle tone and definition. Strength training also helps your muscles to have a better definition, eliminating body challenges like sagging upper arms and flabby thighs.

8. Improves cognitive skills. A good strength training regime also helps to keep your mind sharp as well as your body. It has even been suggested that strength training helps to improve comprehension and learning skills in older adults.

While strength training may not be the first thing you think about when you are planning your work out, it offers a number of benefits including ramping up your metabolism, making stress more manageable, protecting your bones, improving cognitive abilities and making day-to-day tasks easier to perform.