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About Strength Training

Muscle mass is so crucial for basic metabolism that experts now say exercise that includes strength training is the key to a long healthy life.  Since muscle is metabolically active tissue, losing muscle slows down your metabolism. To counteract this slowdown…weight training builds up calorie burning muscle tissue, the most important reason for maintaining muscle mass. Muscle also supports your immunity, hence, your resistance to all disease. Over the course of an 8 week weight training program, you could gain  3 - 5 lbs of muscle - which is typical - you could be burning 250 extra calories a day just by sitting still. Lean muscle weighs much more than fat - muscle is denser so an exerciser may initially gain weight. This is normal as fat loss is occurring as well. Weight bearing activity or strengthening workouts put a helpful stress on bones and thus encourage new bone growth. Exercising with weights and its results are encouraging since weak muscles lead to falls, the cause of hip fractures and other injuries for many older persons.


Weight Training…

-  Increases metabolism (fat burning at rest)

-  Increases fat burning during exercise

-  Increases overall strength

-  Strengthens heart and bones

-  Decreases arthritis and joint pain

-  Lowers blood sugar

-  Lowers blood pressure

-  Increases energy and improves mood

-  Promotes resistance to injury

-  Increases aerobic capacity

-  Makes elderly more sufficient

-  Improves sleeping




Definition of Strength Training

A method of improving muscular strength by gradually increasing the ability to resist force through the use of free weights, machines, or the person's own body weight. Strength training sessions are designed to impose increasingly greater resistance, which in turn stimulates development of muscle strength to meet the added demand. 


Strength Training Frequency

Studies show you should perform 2 - 3 sessions of weight training a week with 24 - 48 hours in between sessions that work the same muscles. For example, if you do an upper body workout on Monday do not perform another upper body workout again until at least Wednesday.  Most health experts recommend performing workouts that focus on all major body parts each session to ensure you develop the entire body equally.


More About Strength Training

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym.  Consider the options: 


-  Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment.  Examples include push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches, lunges and squats.


-  Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in most sporting goods stores.  


-  Free Weights - Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.


-  Weight Machines - Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines.


Getting Started  

When you have a doctor’s OK to begin a strength training program, start slowly.  Warm up for 5 - 10 minutes by moving your body to increase the body core.  Choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 - 15 repetitions.  This way you can build and tone muscle.  When you can easily do more than 15 repetitions of a certain exercise, gradually increase the weight or resistance.  Remember to stop if you feel sharp pain.  Although muscle soreness is normal, sharp pain and sore or swollen joints are signs that you’ve overdone it.   You don’t need to spend hours a day lifting to benefit from strength training.  Two to three strength training session per week lasting 20 - 30 minutes is sufficient for most people.   


See the Results         

You may enjoy noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina in just a few weeks.  With regular strength training, you’ll continue to increase your strength.  Strength training does wonders for your physical and emotional well-being.  

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