The verdict is in: Women need more weight training.

Cardio workouts are fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love Zumba and Country Heat and Cize, and almost anything that gets my body moving to the music.

But my goal is to be strong and healthy as I age so I can remain independent and active. And I know that will take more than cardio endurance and a strong heart. It takes strong bones and muscles and a strong attitude.

Here are 8 reasons you should fall in love with weight training:

1. You’ll Lose More Fat
The average woman who works out with weights two to three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.75 pounds of lean muscle and loses 3.5 pounds of fat.

2. Muscle Helps Fight Obesity.
As you add muscle from strength training, your resting metabolism will increase, so you’ll burn more calories all day long.

3. Your Bones Will Benefit.
By the time you leave high school, you have established all the bone mineral density you’ll ever have–unless you strength train. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months.

4. You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes.
Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem in the US. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.

5. You’ll Fight Heart Disease.
Strength training will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure, according to recent research. Of course, your exercise program should also include cardio exercise and flexibility training.

6. You Can Beat Back Pain and Fight Arthritis.
A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.

7. It Will Work No Matter How Old You Are.
Women in their 70s and 80s have begun weight training — studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age.

8. You’ll Strengthen Your Mental Health.
A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable.