Fitness Interest: Strength and Resistance Training

Posted by Bernard Mulu on

Strength and resistance training exercise is one of the four major types of exercises along with endurance, balance and flexibility. Ideally, all four types of exercise would be included in a healthy workout routine.

We don't need to do all of this every day, but a good variety will help keep you healthy, fit and make your physical activity routine more exciting.

At GoBliss we recommends strength training at least twice per week.

Strengthening your muscles gives you the ability to perform everyday activities and helps protect your body from injury. Stronger muscles also lead to a boost in your metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories even when your body is at rest.

Here, we’re not talking about professional bodybuilding. Simple, weight- lifting exercises that use free weights, machines or your body’s own resistance are the focus. You can do these workouts separate from your cardio activity or add resistance on to an existing workout. Choose the time and type of activity that works for you.

A well-rounded strength-training program provides the following benefits:

  • Increased strength of muscles, bone and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments)

  • Lower risk of injury

  • Slows the aging process

  • Strength training is more effective in burning calories both during and after a workout, whereas cardio only burns calories during the workout.

  • Better quality of life.

 

To Delay aging Process, Lift Weights

Loss of muscle begins in your 30s but gains momentum when you hit 50 and accelerates even more rapidly in your mid-70s. Reduced levels of physical activity, increases in sedentary behavior and doing less intense exercise all play a significant role in age-related muscle loss. This is a leading contributor to loss of independence associated with aging.

 

The good news is that muscle loss and loss of strength can be slowed considerably in most cases and even reversed in some, regardless of age or fitness level. Studies even show that you could gain muscle in your late 90s.

 

Strength Training 

 

The most important intervention against muscle loss is strength training, which helps build muscle and support the connection between nerves and muscle cells to maintain the muscle you have. 

 

To build muscle, you need to choose a weight or level of resistance that you have a hard time performing more than 10 to 15 times in a row. At the end of each set, you should feel tired and need to rest. Resting in between sets is an important part of the process.

 

For best results, perform two to three sets per major muscle group (legs, back, chest, arms, shoulders) at least twice a week, allowing several days between strength workouts for adequate recovery, as this is when muscle growth actually occurs.

 

Weightlifting before or after an aerobic Exercise?

Whether you do weightlifting before or after an aerobic workout is up to you. Research hasn't definitively shown that one way is better than another.

Consider some of the factors that fuel the debate about when to do weightlifting:

  • Weightlifting can deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles. Glycogen stores provide you with energy for short-duration intense activity and longer duration endurance activity.

    If you do weightlifting first, you may find that you're too tired to complete a more intense aerobic workout.

  • An aerobic workout can be a good warmup for weightlifting. If you do your aerobic workout first, make sure that you're not too tired to lift weights with proper form. Poor weightlifting technique could increase the risk of injury.
  • Oxygen use may be the same whether you do aerobic or resistance exercise first. Some studies found that the order of aerobic and resistance exercise during the same session may not affect how much oxygen is used or limit how much aerobic exercise can be done.

The bottom line about weightlifting first or second? If you want to include both weightlifting and aerobic exercise in the same workout, experiment to find what works best for you, your fitness level and your fitness goals.

For instance, you could make either your aerobic workout or your weightlifting workout less intense. Or you could consider doing your weightlifting and aerobic workouts on different days.

 

Weight training: free weights or machine weights?

No single piece of weight training equipment is best for everyone. Both free weights and machine weights can help you increase your strength. Other types of resistance, such as using resistance bands or body weight, also can help increase your strength.

The choice of using free weights or machine weights is based on your personal preference, your physical fitness level, your fitness goals and your access to equipment.

Free weights are versatile and inexpensive. They also simulate real-life lifting situations and promote whole-body stabilization. Free weights are generally safe when used with the proper technique. But it may take some practice to get used to lifting with free weights, and it's essential to use proper technique.

Machine weights also can be effective weight training tools, as long as you use machines that adjust to your body dimensions and allow your joints to move through their natural motion paths. Machine weights are generally safe when used with the proper technique. Many people can learn to use them quickly.

The bottom line? Choose a weight training system that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle. Aim to do weight training exercises of all the major muscle groups at least two days a week, keeping at least one day between strength training sessions.

And whatever type of resistance you choose, remember that proper form and technique is more important than the specific type of equipment.

If you are a beginner, start with weight machines. You may consult with a certified fitness professional to learn safe technique before beginning a strength-training program. As you advance, you can add more exercises, free weights or more weight to continue making progress.

 

Aim to exercise each muscle group at least two times per week, with a minimum of two days of rest between workouts. Training more frequently or adding more sets may lead to slightly greater gains, but the minimal added benefit may not be worth the extra time and effort -- not to mention the added risk of injury.

 

Sources

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199406233302501


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