The effects of aging can start to affect you at a relatively early age often creeping up without being noticed until it reaches a stage when certain tasks become more difficult. So how will strength training help? As well as improving strength these exercises help to increase flexibility, extend the range of movement and as a result over all mobility. Things that are often taken for granted such as lifting and carrying shopping, reaching for items on high shelves or the stamina to clean the whole house in one go or mow the lawn could all be helped with strength training. Back pain becomes more common as people age, exercises that improve the strength of core muscles can help improve lower back pain.
Improved muscle strength can help with balance issues making accidents and falls less likely. Heart muscle will also benefit from regular exercise and in turn this will help with high blood pressure. Exercise is also known to help maintain and in some cases improve bone density and the onset of osteoporosis or brittle bones. Osteoporosis is due to a combination of things including aging and a sedentary lifestyle. An additional benefit of regular exercise is weight loss as the body’s metabolic rate is increased more calories are burnt.
What is strength training?
Strength training requires the use of weights and there is a subtle difference between strength training and bodybuilding. Strength training is defined as using weight resistance to improve overall health and build muscle over time, while bodybuilding develops the body through a combination of diet and exercise. Body builders use these techniques to develop and maintain the physique required for competition.
Strength Exercise Programmes
Before even attempting an exercise programme it is important to consult a doctor, if you have been ill or injured and in particularly if you suffer from a chronic condition.
There are several different approaches to strength training, such as exercise without weights, exercise using heavier weights and fewer repetitions, lighter weights and more repetitions or circuit training.
These exercises can be performed at a gym, which is a good idea if you have never exercised before, as instructors there can help develop a programme that is suitable for your ability level and will be on hand, initially, to ensure that the exercises are carried out correctly and safely and that you are breathing correctly as you perform each exercise. Alternatively, they can be carried out at home, with minimal equipment such as a mat, resistance bands, exercise ball and light hand weights.
It is recommended that each session starts with approximately ten minutes of warm up exercises, followed by a set of exercises which become progressively more difficult and should be repeated 10 to 12 times each, with the final exercise being the most difficult but not too hard to do. The session should always be finished off with a series of stretching exercises to cool down the muscles before stopping. Weights can be used but should not be so heavy that it prevents you doing the 12 repetitions. This regime should be carried out initially at least twice a week with at least one day between each session increasing to three times a week still with a free day between sessions. Additional sets of exercises can be added as your fitness level improves.
Post by Tony, a UK based blogger working with Reebok Fitness