Ensuring you include some sort of strength training exercises into your workout program will help prevent the onset of many health-related issues including osteoporosis, stroke and heart disease. There are many benefits to including strength-related exercises in your workout, including stronger bones and improved circulation; however, the two main benefits are increased overall strength and increased muscular endurance. Muscle strength is the ability to exert force against resistance (i.e. powerlifting), while muscle endurance is the ability to exert sustained effort over a long period of time (i.e. completing a triathlon).
When it comes to strength training, you can use a variety of equipment, including: free weights (e.g. dumbbells), weight machines, bands (a.k.a. tubing or cables) and even your own body weight. The “best” equipment will depend on your personal preference and specific goals. For instance, if you are looking to increase your strength to improve your daily life/everyday activities then free weights are the ideal choice as they involve a more natural coordination of several muscle groups (better simulating real life activities compared to weight machines); however, if price is an issue then you may want to consider a combination of bands and body weight exercises.
While strength training is a necessary part of any well-rounded workout program, it becomes even more important as you age and begin to lose bone density. Consequently, the best time to start strength training is now! Talk to your trainer for more information about appropriate strength-related exercises that you can include in your workout program.