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?