Burn calories, avoid injuries with strength training |
You don’t have to be Mr. Muscle to reap the benefits of strength training. In fact, building strong muscles is important for everyone at every age. And, it’s never too late to get started.
Besides developing tone and muscle, incorporating strength training into your workout will help you burn more calories. When your muscles are denser, your metabolism increases. Strength training also helps to prevent osteoporosis, falls and other injuries, especially as you age. Developing stronger joints with weights improves your balance, stability and bone density.
When it comes to getting the best workout, EHFC fitness specialist/personal trainer Theresa McCabe stresses using a combination of cardiovascular exercise and weights.
“It’s really not a question of whether or not you should do strength training. Cardio exercises give you a different workout, and you have to supplement it with building strength,” she explains.
McCabe further explains that there are many healthy and fit people who have very high levels of cardio endurance, but are very weak because they don’t use weights. As a result, these athletes can actually experience injuries and other set-backs.
Adding strength training can help a runner avoid knee injuries, and older adults can keep their joints stable and have better balance, according to the trainer.
- Aim for strength training twice a week.
- Do two sets of 8-12 repetitions with 20-30 seconds rest in between.
- Focus on your major muscle groups including lower body, chest, back, core, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and abs
- Lift enough weight so that your muscles feel tired after the repetitions. When this amount becomes too light and you grow stronger, add more weight, instead of additional reps, to build strength.
And, it’s never too late to get started, says McCabe.
“You can benefit from strength training at any age. There is no age limit and it can be an ongoing part of your workout routine. Find something you enjoy, and continue to progress by adding more weight, even if it is a little bit at a time,” she says.
Beginners may find the machines easier than free weights to use. Besides free weights and strength training equipment, most EHFC water classes and group exercise incorporate some type of strength training into the workout.
EHFC personal trainers are also very helpful in teaching proper form, making recommendations for machines to use to target certain muscle groups, and even creating a routine that will help you reach your strength training goals.
For more information, go to www.edward.org/fitness.