Recently I started incorporating strength training in my Physical activity. We know that regular physical activity promotes general good health, reduces the risk of developing many diseases, and helps you live a longer and healthier life. For many of us, “exercise” means walking, jogging, treadmill work, or other activities that get the heart pumping.
But often overlooked is the value of strength-building exercises. Once you reach your 50s (like me) and beyond, strength (or resistance) training is critical to preserving the ability to perform the most ordinary activities of daily living — and to maintaining an active and independent lifestyle.
Studies attest that strength training, as well as aerobic exercise, can help you manage and sometimes prevent conditions as varied as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. It can also protect vitality, make everyday tasks more manageable, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Did you know the average 30-year-old will lose about a quarter of his or her muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90. “Just doing aerobic exercise is not adequate,” says Dr. Robert Schreiber, physician-in-chief at Hebrew SeniorLife.. “Unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional.”
What is strength training?
Strength training encompasses any of the following:
- Free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells
- Ankle cuffs and vestscontaining different amounts of weight
- Resistance (elastic) bandsof varying length and tension that you flex using your arms and legs
- Exercises that use your body weightto create resistance against gravity.
How much do you need?
A beginner’s strength-building workout takes as little as 20 minutes. The key is developing a well-rounded program, performing the exercises with good form, and being consistent. You will experience noticeable gains in strength within four to eight weeks.
However you start, go slow so you don’t injure yourself. Discuss your new exercise plan with your doctor and explain the level of workout you expect to achieve. Mild to moderate muscle soreness between workouts is normal, but back off if it persists more than a few days.
Wishing you Vibrant health and happiness