Australian Health Today - - Contents -

Strength train­ing is not just about build­ing mus­cle to be­come a body­builder. Peo­ple of all ages, whether 18 or 80, can ben­e­fit from sim­ple and easy re­sis­tance ex­er­cises, which are ben­e­fi­cial to bones, mus­cles and even los­ing un­wanted body fat by burn­ing calo­ries. It adds tone to your mus­cle and makes you stronger and fit­ter. Body co-or­di­na­tion, pos­ture and bal­ance also im­prove. It is called strength train­ing or re­sis­tance train­ing be­cause it in­volves us­ing a re­sist­ing force that con­tracts your mus­cles and gives them a good work­ing out.

In­cor­po­rate a set of re­sis­tance ex­er­cises two to three times a week for 15-30 min­utes to get the max­i­mum ben­e­fit. Al­ter­nate days when you get more ad­vanced and you start feel­ing more com­fort­able. Giv­ing your mus­cles the chance to re­cover is im­por­tant so it isn’t rec­om­mended do­ing it on a daily ba­sis. Lis­ten­ing to your body is im­por­tant and safety is vi­tal. Warm up be­fore and af­ter to get the best re­sults. You will no­tice a vast im­prove­ment in your flex­i­bil­ity and gen­eral health. Stud­ies have shown that re­sis­tance train­ing can aid those suf­fer­ing from type 2 di­a­betes, post­menopausal symp­toms, de­pres­sion and arthri­tis. It low­ers the risk of os­teo­poro­sis in men and women. The health ben­e­fits are many.

Re­mem­ber, you don’t need ex­pen­sive gym ma­chines, heavy weights or a gym mem­ber­ship to do re­sis­tance train­ing. Train­ing can be done in your gar­den, liv­ing room or of­fice. Sim­ply us­ing the force of your body against a a wall, small hand weights, a re­sis­tance band, a heavy ball such as a medicine ball, or even a 1kg bag of rice, all will do the job just as well and there is no ex­cuse! If in doubt, ask your GP or a fit­ness trainer for more ad­vice on what would suit your needs.

Be­gin­ners can start to tar­get the ma­jor mus­cle ar­eas of the body (legs, arms, torso, shoul­ders, back, hips and chest) with 8-10 rep­e­ti­tions per ex­er­cise. For ex­am­ple, 10 pushups fol­lowed by 10 squats and 10 lunges. Try th­ese sim­ple ex­er­cises be­low to get started. Work­ing in a group will get your mo­ti­va­tional level up and add a fun fac­tor.

There is so much more to re­sis­tance train­ing than look­ing and feel­ing great. It im­proves your health and plays a large part in dis­ease pre­ven­tion. Who wouldn’t want that?

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