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When most people think about weight lifting, they picture greased-up Schwarzenegger look-a-likes whose muscles threaten to explode out of their clothes. But that's an outdated image. Weight lifting can do more than just "pump you up." In fact, adding strength training moves to your weekly exercise routine can improve your physical and mental health, prevent disease, keep you trim, and it may even keep you alive a little longer.

Don't believe me? Just take a look at some of the amazing benefits your can get by adding some iron to your workouts.

Promotes weight loss Want to lose weight? Stop looking at the numbers on your scale and start looking at those weights collecting dust in your garage. Research shows that pound for pound, muscle tissues burn more calories than fat. And muscle fibers keep burning calories long after your workout is over. In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who did a weight-training workout for an hour burned roughly 100 more calories over the next 24 hours compared to women who didn't lift any weights.

Builds muscle It probably goes without saying that weight training can help you build and maintain muscle. But if you're afraid of bulking up, you shouldn't be. The latest research shows that even light weight lifting can yield powerful results for your health. That's good news for people who want strong muscles but don't want to look like the Hulk. Think strong and lean rather than beefed-up and bulky vitamale.