HR Mental Wellness Center

How to Live Longer & Healthier Using Strength Training

Regular physical activity promotes general good health, improves psychological resilience, reduces the risk of developing many diseases, and helps you live a longer and healthier life. Exercise is not just walking, jogging, treadmill work, or other activities that get the heart pumping. It important to invest in strength-building exercises. At young age, strength building exercises help you build stronger muscles mass. Once you reach your 50s and beyond, strength (or resistance) training is critical to preserving your muscle mass and the ability to perform the most ordinary physical activities of daily living without getting injured— and to maintain an active and independent lifestyle.

The average 30-year-old will lose about a quarter of his or her muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90. By just doing aerobic exercise is not adequate. You will become weaker and less functional unless you are doing strength training.
Strength training encompasses any of the following:

• Free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells
• Ankle cuffs and vests containing different amounts of weight
• Resistance (elastic) bands of varying length and tension that you flex using your arms and legs
• Exercises that use your body weight to create resistance against gravity.

A beginner’s strength-building workout takes as little as 20 minutes a day. Develop a well-rounded program, performing the exercises regularly. Within four to eight weeks, you will experience noticeable gains in strength.

You could buy a basic introductory-weight dumbbells and do the exercises at home, or you could go to a health centre. It is much cheaper and easier to commit buying your own weights than to join a health club. You could get started with a simple routine from books, videos or youtube, Learn some basic moves and start developing your routine. If you need guidance, you may join a health club or hire a personal coach if you could afford it. Many senior centers and adult education programs offer strength training classes, as well.

However you start, go slow so you don’t injure yourself. Discuss your new exercise plan with your doctor and explain the level of workout you expect to achieve. Mild to moderate muscle soreness between workouts is normal, but back off if it persists more than a few days.

All the best in the New Year.

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