Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier
We all have our favorite way of exercising. Personally I love yoga and long walks. But recently I’ve been feeling guilty that I keep walking right past the weight machines at the gym. Strength training is one of the best ways to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. And you guessed it, I’m going to require a bit of strength training this week as part of our special weekly challenge. The following information comes from Mayo Clinic’s website.
Use it or lose it
Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age.
"If you don't do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you'll increase the percentage of fat in your body," says Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. "But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age."
Strength training also helps you:
• Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
• Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body burns more calories 24/7 (Yes even when resting on the sofa). The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
• Boost your stamina. As you get stronger, you won't fatigue as easily. Building muscle also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.
• Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
• Sharpen your focus. Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults.
Consider the options
Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices include:
• Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, abdominal crunches, leg squats or planks.
• Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
• Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools and can be bought very inexpensively at Walmart or Target. Also you can use weighty stuff you already own (cans of food, bottles of water etc.)
Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home.
So what is the challenge. You can take your choice of the following 2 options:
1. Add strength training of some sort (pick anything from the list above) and add at least 10 minutes for all 6 daily work outs this week. It can be part of your hour of exercise or you can do an additional 10 minutes (note: while you only get exercise point credit for the challenge for working out for 60 minutes if you work out longer it can help you stay within your daily calorie allowed on myfitness.com)
2. Set aside 2 of your daily work out hours for strength training this week. That’s right ladies do some type of strength training for 2 whole hours.
Either of the above options will earn you the weekly 30 bonus points!