Strength Training What Can It Do For You?
Until recently, many believed that strength training was only needed for the serious athlete. Not so! Recent studies have shown that a challenging, progressive strength training program can build muscles and increase strength in men and women of all ages. Now, some suggest that the benefits are potentially much greater.
Halts Bone Loss & May Even Restores Bone
Each year after menopause, a woman typically loses one percent of her bone mass, particularly in the first five years after menopause. Over time, a condition called osteoporosis can develop. Osteoporosis occurs when bones become so porous and weak that they break. Recent studies show that, as a result of strength training, some post-menopausal women have not only not lost bone mass, but actually gained one percent!
Strength training improves balance, which declines naturally as we age. Falls are a common cause of broken bones in the elderly. Improved balance reduces the risk of falls.
Strength training energizes you! It makes sense–the stronger you are, the easier it is to move. The 1996 Surgeon General’s Report underscored that physical activity helps decrease disease and disability, improves mental health, and increases longevity.
Trims and Tightens
Strength training helps trim the body. Those who strength train report lost inches.
Helps Control Weight
Gaining muscle not only promotes aerobic activity, which burns calories, it also boosts metabolism. That’s because muscle is active tissue and consumes calories. Stored fat, on the other hand, is inert and uses very little energy. Unfortunately, dieters often lose muscle along with fat.
Strength training can be done at a gym or fitness facility on machines, or at home using dumbbells and leg weights. Strength training carries less risk of injury than many other physical activities, including jogging or aerobics. But, be sensible.
Drink enough liquid. Keep some water or a sports drink nearby.
Begin with a warm up. Warm your muscles through stretching and moving before beginning any exercise.
Maintain good posture. Proper posture helps avoid muscle strain and injury, not only during exercise but all the time – and, it keeps you looking young.
Relax. Try to concentrate your efforts on just one muscle group at a time. Keep your neck relaxed and your chin down.
Keep breathing. It is vital that you keep the air flowing. Breathing also helps you relax.
Listen to your body. Mild soreness and tired muscles are a result of exercise of any type, if you are working your muscles near capacity. But, the sensation should diminish as you complete the exercises. Strong pain may indicate an injury.
Don’t push yourself too hard. Take time to build up to a stronger weight or more repetitions.
Before beginning any exercise program, you should discuss your plans with your physician.
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