|Why Should People Lift Weights? ©Katrena|
- Legs and hips
- Back and abdomen
- Chest, shoulders, and arms
|How to Add Resistance Exercises for a Well-rounded Fitness Routine ©Katrena|
People years ago often did strength training in normal everyday life. Try lifting a few hay bales and you'll quickly realize that physical strength can come from more places than the gym, but many adults benefit from a structured weight lifting program that targets all muscle groups.
Children will often naturally participate in activities to strengthen muscles when provided with opportunities and appropriate settings such as a playground and do not typically need a structured weight lifting program. Physical resistance training can be achieved in a wide variety of ways, such as:
- Lifting free weights such as a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell or girya
- Utilizing weight machines designed to isolate specific muscles
- Using bands, balls, blocks, straps, rings (Pilates magic circle), or other pieces of equipment to provide resistance
- Practicing aqua resistance exercises in a swimming pool
- Sports-focused resistance training, such as with golfing, gymnastics, or cycling
- Play-focused activities, such as climbing a jungle gym and moving across monkey bars
- Incorporating one's own body weight for resistance, such as performing push-ups or abdominal crunches
- Positioning the body in certain ways such as in a yoga or Pilates class
|Add Weight Lifting to Add Higher Quality of Life ©Katrena|
It is hard to continue a program for physical fitness without noticing and enjoying the benefits of those exercises. Although cardiovascular exercises may produce rapid benefits, the benefits of resistance training may be a bit more subtle for many people. It may be difficult to distinguish between the results of regular aerobic activity and strength training because many of the benefits overlap. A consistent strength training program combined with regular aerobic activity and a healthy diet can reap huge rewards down the road with prevention of many common health problems.
People who participate in resistance exercises on a regular basis may simply begin to enjoy life more fully with an improvement in functional strength. They may be able to get in and out of a car more easily as strength, range of movement, and flexibility improves. They might be more sure-footed and not experience a fall. Even if the person experiences a fall, she may recover more fully and more quickly if she is stronger and more physically fit.
|Reap Rewards of Resistance Training! ©Katrena|
According to the NIH and CDC, a few possible specific benefits of incorporating resistance training into one's fitness routine at least twice a week include:
- Improve or maintain muscular strength, which can play a huge role in being able to function well while engaging in activities of daily living
- Improve or maintain bone density, which can reduce the likelihood of developing or having progression of oseteoporosis
- Decrease pain from arthritis, which may result in a decreased need for pain medications and improve quality of life
- Improve balance and flexibility with a lessened chance for falls – one fall can have devastating results
- Increase metabolic rate, resulting in better long-term weight control
- Reduce blood sugar levels, which may decrease the incidence of or treatment needs for diabetes
- Improve heart health as the body becomes leaner with a reduction in body fat and lowered blood pressure
- Improve gastric emptying times, resulting in less constipation and other gastrointestinal issues
- Reduce symptoms of depression as people who regularly participate in strength training tend to enjoy better self-esteem and higher self-confidence
- Improve quality of sleep as people who lift weights regularly tend to be able to fall asleep faster, enjoy a deeper sleep, and tend to awaken less often at night
|Resistance Training May Help Prevent Many Health Problems ©Katrena|
Although many people may resist the thought of adding a resistance component to their workouts, the benefits often outweigh the risks when incorporating appropriate moves and weights designed to strengthen all muscle groups. I've worked with a wide variety of ages in group exercise classes and have seen great benefits achieved as participants consistently combine aerobic activities and strength training each week.
Readers should check with a healthcare professional before adding or changing to ensure that the exercises are safe for specific health needs.