Okay, we all know exercise is good for us, but often times we aren’t sure exactly where to start on the fitness journey, and when we hear terms such as “strength training”, we sometimes get a little intimidated. Strength training brings to mind images of body builders hefting barbells the size of a small Japanese car, not exactly something most of us aspire to.
The Benefits Of Strength Training
Strength training, however, is a vital component of any fitness program, as it provides for the reduction of body fat, the increase of lean muscle mass, and the efficient burning of calories. Because muscle mass deteriorates with age, it is only natural that we should make every effort to replace what we lose and keep it as properly toned and fit as possible.
Strength training has other benefits as well, such as the development of stronger bone structure, increasing density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. You also develop a better handling of your weight, the natural result of having a larger engine to burn calories more efficiently. When your muscles are toned, your weight is easier to control.
Strength training techniques also reduce your risk of injury by offering better protection for your joints. It also results in better balance, which allows for the maintaining of independence as your get older. Likewise, you will see improvement in your stamina which means you won’t become as easily fatigued.
Fitness programs that incorporate strength training also allow you to better manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, depression, obesity, and osteoporosis, not to mention other benefits such as increasing your attention span.
Beginning A Strength Training Program
There are a number of strength training options available to you, such as body weight exercise, which required little or no equipment and uses your natural weight to draw from. Push ups, sit ups, abdominal crunches, and leg squats are all examples of body weight strength training. Resistance tubing is also popular, utilizing lightweight tubing that may be stretched to provide resistance. These are readily available in most sporting goods stores.
Free weights and weight machines are what most people think of when they think of strength training. Free weights are inexpensive and may be purchased for home use. Weight machines or all purpose home gyms are another option that will allow you to do strength training in the comfort of your own home.
As with any training program, it is important to get your doctor’s approval before starting, and even then, start slow. Build up over time, taking longer and going heavier, or whatever the goal may be in order to reach your fitness potential. Give your muscles time to recover between sessions, and above all else, don’t get discouraged. It may take a period of several weeks before you begin to notice a difference in how you look and feel.
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