We all know that strength training can help, build, tone and define muscles. Did you also know that it is an important key to improving your balance, decreasing bodyfat, increasing energy, and strengthening your bones, plus it makes you look and feel better. It’s not just about body builders and “Pumping Up”, it’s a proven fact that lifting weights is beneficial for people of all ages and can offset or reverse certain medical conditions.
Here are 5 reasons why you should put down the paper and pick up a weight:
1.) Develop Strong Bones – No matter what your gender, we all lose bone mass as we age. Weight bearing exercises are shown to stop, prevent and even reverse bone density loss in adults.
2.) Help to Lose Weight and Keep Weight Off – As we age we lose muscle mass and our metabolisms slow down. Strength training maintains and increases lean muscle mass while increasing the rate at which we burn fat. A proper strength training program performed 3 days a week will decrease bodyfat, assisting you in losing weight and keeping it off.
3.) Manage Chronic Conditions – Studies show that regular strength training (2-3x’s a week) improves chronic conditions including arthritis, heart disease, obesity , and back pain.
4.) Better Body Mechanics – As you pump, you will be improving posture, balance and coordination. This will give you more stability in all of your activities and reduce the risk of falls.
5.) Boost your energy and improve your mood – Working out increases endorphins and improves circulation, helping you to feel better. Strength training is a natural way to decrease depression and give you a better night’s sleep.
There are many ways to strength train.
A.) Body weight – pushup, planks, bridges and crunches are a great start.
B.) Resistance Tubing – is lightweight and easily portable and affordable. Stretching the tubing provides resistance which will strengthen your muscles.
C.) Free Weights – bar bells and dumb bells are the classic strength training tools.
D.) Weight Machines – are a great way to start. They help to to develop and maintain proper form and are readily available.
To get started with a strength training program, you want to choose exercises that will work all major muscle groups – chest, back, abdomen, gluts, shoulders, legs and arms. Start with a light 5 minute warmup – brisk walk, arm circles, leg swings – anything to get the blood moving. When training use a weight that is challenging you want to be able to complete 8-12 repetitions with the last few being a challenge. If you’ve completed 12 repetitions of the exercise and feel you could do more, you need to increase weight. Train 3 times a week, giving your body a day of rest in between workouts. Muscles actually get stronger during the repair phase.