Strength Training, the Why's and How's
What's your workout like? Are you consistent every week with strength training? The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice a week. I actually recommend 3 times a week. But don't let that scare you. Three, 20 minutes sessions a week is really all you need to see and feel benefits.
Why strength train?
1. Build muscles mass- As we age we naturally lose muscle mass. Staying consistent with a sound core program can actually reverse muscle loss. Sarcopenia, the accelerated loss of muscles mass and function that is associated with increased adverse outcomes including falls, functional decline, frailty and mortality. We can actually reverse muscles loss through strength and balance training and aerobic exercise.
2. Increase bone density- Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormone changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. This can't necessarily be reversed by exercise but we can definitely slow the progression of Osteoporosis. Plus, strength training will help to keep the body strong and help with balance and mobility.
3. Decrease risk for Type 2 Diabetes. If you have Type 2 Diabetes building more muscle mass can help manage your symptoms. When you exercise your muscles need more energy (glucose). Larger muscles require more glucose as well. Both the act of lifting weights and the effects of strength training help improve blood sugar management.
If you don't have diabetes, strength training helps prevent it!
4. Heart Health- Studies show that consistent strength training lowers blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol and improves blood circulation.
5. Improve body composition. The same reason building muscle makes you look better in your jeans helps with the four positive effects listed above, plus more.You are helping to strengthen all the systems of your body. Weight loss alone doesn't change your body mass. Losing fat mass and building muscle mass should be the goal for both cosmetic and health benefits.
Strength training doesn't have to be complicated. If you don't have a gym membership or fancy equipment, most exercises can be performed with your own body weight. I recommend investing in a few dumbbells, resistant bands or tubes and a door anchor for your bands and tubes. ClICK HERE for resistant bands and door anchors.
Pay attention to how an exercise feels and what muscles you should be using.
Incorporating a pulling and pushing exercise along with a couple lower body exercises like split squats, hip bridges and squats can give you great benefit.
Basic Strength Training should be done 3 times a week with a day of rest in between to allow muscle fibers to repair, which is when the muscle building occurs.
Start with 2 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Build up to 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. You are looking to fatigue around 10-12 repetitions. Go to our Community for videos on proper Spilt Squats and Counter Push Ups to get you started.