Strenth training

4 Reasons Why You Should Start Strength Training (and 4 Essential Exercises)

If you think working out with weights is only for big, muscle-bound guys who drink protein shakes and spend all day counting macros, think again! Strength training is good for everyone – women and seniors, too. Besides helping you look more toned and trim, it can help you feel better, no matter how old you are. Here are a few more reasons to pump some iron (or canned foods, if that’s what you have at home), and how to get started.


It's the Perfect Home Workout

Section 1

Strength training isn’t just working out with weights or gym machines. It can mean using resistance, like the kind provided by a resistance band or even a scarf or towel. Many strength training exercises use your own body weight (for example, doing a pushup against a wall) and even gravity (such as holding plank or doing squats). Many exercises can be easily modified so you can use common household items, such as cans of food, water bottles, paper plates, or even jugs of laundry detergent or kitty litter.


You’ll Burn More Fat

Section 2People who add weights to their exercise routine are often surprised by the results. Their weight may not change, but they find their clothes fit looser and their waistline shrinks: it’s almost like you’re replacing fat with muscle. Lean muscle mass boosts your metabolism, especially when added to a cardio or walking program

Even if you’re just doing it for your physical appearance, losing weight can:
⦁    Lower your risks for heart diseasecolon cancer, and other diseases
⦁    Reduce your anxiety 
⦁    Help you sleep better 
⦁    Reduced your appetite


Strength Training Can Help You Age Gracefully

Section 3

As people age, they lose bone density and may suffer other degenerative changes to muscles and joints. This can make them vulnerable not only to arthritis, but to aches, sprains, and falls – which can be very dangerous for senior citizens. 

Working out with weights can help you build muscle mass to protect your joints and keep you strong and flexible. The right exercises may improve your posture and your coordination, which makes you less likely to fall, trip, or have accidents. And because strength training fights inflammation, it may help reduce pain for those who suffer arthritis


Improve Conditioning and Athletic Performance
No matter what sport you play, a weight-training program can make you better, stronger, and faster. Adding lean muscle mass to your frame improves your overall level of fitness. You need powerful muscles to move faster, and strength training can also help improve your coordination, so you have fewer accidents, and improve muscle recovery after workouts and training.


How to Get Started
If you’re a senior, you haven’t exercised in a while, or you have a serious health condition, check with your doctor first to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise. Then get started with these basics. At first, try these exercises twice a week, then adjust accordingly. 

 

Squats

Squats

Parts of the body worked: hips (butt), back, and core; improves foot and ankle mobility.

Equipment: None, or resistance band or chair (optional)

⦁    Stand straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
⦁    Hold your abs tight and lower yourself down like you are sitting in a chair. (If you need to, hold your arms out for balance or put one hand on the back of a chair for support.)
⦁    Keep your knees parallel, over your ankles, and don’t let them knock inwards. You should be able to see your toes. If not, push your behind further back when you squat. For an extra challenge, loop a resistance band above your knees.
⦁    Slowly return to standing position, using your muscles, not momentum. 

Goal: 3 sets of 10

 

Planks

Plank

Parts of the body worked: shoulders, back, core, chest, hips, and more. 

Equipment: None

⦁    Lay on the floor and lift yourself to the top of a push-up position. (If you’re a beginner, try it on your elbows and knees). 
⦁    Keep your stomach strong and tight, and don’t arch your back.
⦁    Hold for only as long as you are able to maintain a straight line without your stomach or hips “sagging.” Keeping good form is more important than how long you can hold it.

Goal: 30 seconds and build from there once you start gaining strength and endurance.
 

Shoulder Press (standing or seated)

Shoulder PressParts of the body worked: shoulders, back, core, chest, hips, and more. 

Equipment: None

⦁    Lay on the floor and lift yourself to the top of a push-up position. (If you’re a beginner, try it on your elbows and knees). 
⦁    Keep your stomach strong and tight, and don’t arch your back.
⦁    Hold for only as long as you are able to maintain a straight line without your stomach or hips “sagging.” Keeping good form is more important than how long you can hold it.

Goal: 30 seconds and build from there once you start gaining strength and endurance.

 

Resistance Band Pull-Apart

Resistance

Parts of the body worked: Shoulders, back, and arms

Equipment needed: Resistance band

⦁    Start with your arms in front of you.
⦁    Now, move them away from each other, stretching the resistance band and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
⦁    Maintaining control, keep resistance on the band as you return to the starting position.

Goal: 3 sets of 10.

 

Stop if You Feel Pain or Extreme Shortness of Breath  

If you start feeling real pain, stop immediately. Remember that it’s normal to feel a little shaky, to feel a little burning sensation, or soreness when you’re trying strength building exercises. Just don’t push yourself too hard, there’s a difference between discomfort and pain. 

 

Stay Strong and Grow Healthy

Section 4Exercise is like any other kind of routine: you’ve got to keep at it! It can take a while before you notice the results of an exercise program, but it’s worth the effort.