Without adequate strength training, even the simplest daily activities can seem more difficult. Did your back hurt or twinge a little bit the last time you carried groceries in from the car, or had to carry your son around in the store? Were you sore after moving furniture or lifting bags of fertilizer while doing yard work? Even these simple activities require strength and endurance!
Inactivity Can Cause Muscle Loss
Many people lose muscle and strength with age. However, most of this loss is due to inactivity. When inactive people grow older several things happen. Their tolerance for exercise and physical activity declines, their body fat increases, their muscles decrease in size and become weaker, and their bone thickness decreases. These changes make simple tasks hard and increase the risk of injury. Inactive people also have an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, thinning of the bones, and other diseases.
Overload Your Muscles!
Strength training can prevent and even reverse these changes. Overloading the muscle develops strength. Proper strength training makes muscles stronger by asking them to do more than usual. This is called overload and means lifting more weight than one usually lifts. The body responds to this challenge by becoming stronger. Strength training must be done slowly and carefully.
Types of Strength Training
There are several different methods you can use for strength training. One example is weight lifting with barbells. Barbells are one of the easiest methods to build strength. Start light, focus on technique, and add weight systematically. The more weight you have on the bar, the stronger you get. Body weight exercises are another method. These exercises force you to use your own body weight as resistance. Another method is to use machines that balance the weight for you. Be sure that you know what you’re doing when using the machines, because positioning yourself incorrectly or using too much weight can lead to injury. If you need some assistance learning about strength training, Columbus has services that can help!
Start Slowly & Work Hard
It takes hard work to develop strength and muscle potential. A simple beginner program is a full body routine performed 3 times per week. Perform 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per muscle group. Begin with a light exercise program. Exercise slowly with good posture, full range of motion, and regular breathing. Performed properly, strength training should maintain or even increase a joint’s range of movement. It strengthens bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and improves fitness and health. It can also help prevent accidents and injuries and speed recovery when injuries do occur. It improves one’s ability to do everyday chores and activities. Strength training can and should be done for a lifetime. Medical studies show benefits of strength training for people well into their 80’s and 90’s, so it’s never too late to get started!
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