You should be strength training every week. Yes, I mean you! Men, women, adults, seniors and youth, we all need some form of regular resistance training. Strength training has a multitude of benefits from increasing bone mineral density, maintaining posture and balance, injury prevention, weight loss by decreasing body fat to acting as a detractor from disease.
The American College of Sports Medicine has guidelines for strength training for the general population. Start with a minimum of two days a week and separate strength training sessions with 24-48 hours of rest. The muscles need time, especially when you first start resistance training, to heal and repair. You will gain very little benefits, if any, from training a fatigued and sore muscle that has not had adequate rest. During your strength sessions aim for 8-12 repetitions for 1-2 sets and 8-10 full body exercises. Seniors, and those adding a strength routine for the first time, should start with 8-10 repetitions instead. Depending upon the weight, rest can be as short as 30 seconds or as long as 3 minutes. The higher the weight the longer the rest needed in between sets. Progress slowly and only add weight when the repetitions become easy. These recommendations are for general strength and maintenance. If you are looking to build a lot of muscle or train for a specific sport, it is best to refer to a training professional or a strength and conditioning specialist.
There is an endless list of options for strength training. A person can join a gym and use traditional machines and free weights or take a group class that emphasizes strength training. You can hire a personal trainer and do body weight exercises or do a home workout with soup cans and water jugs as weights. Get creative! If it has weight and you can lift it, you can make a strength workout.
But with any workout program, it is always best to get cleared from your medical provider. If you have limitations or need guidance on starting a strength program, speak to a professional. Strength training is a wonderful activity to improve quality of life when it is done correctly. If done incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good. So, make sure your information comes from a reputable source!
Stay healthy everyone and make sure to check out our next article on flexibility.
Jayme Limbaugh is a mother, wife, avid knitter, coffee addict, aspiring wellness entrepreneur and owner of Anytime Fitness and Crystal Coast Wellness Center.