Strength-training – building stronger muscles – benefits women and men of all ages and all levels of fitness. If you can get into the habit of strength-training twice a week, you will:
- build strength
- maintain bone density
- improve your balance, coordination and mobility
- reduce your risk of falling
- maintain your independence for daily living activities
Before you start any exercise program, you should check with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you. Strength-training can help people prevent and treat arthritis and osteoporosis – two common joint and bone conditions that affect millions of people as they get older.
The following seven tips can help you reap all the health benefits of strength-training while staying safe.
- Always warm up your body before working out. Warm ups, such as walking, should last 10 to 15 minutes.
- Always cool down after you’re finished with your strength-training exercise. Don’t skip stretching all of the muscle groups that you’ve worked. Stretching helps prevent injuries.
- Your No. 1 priority is to use proper form. If you use improper form while lifting weights, you can seriously injure yourself. If it’s hard to keep proper form while lifting weights, lower the weight or use no weights at all. Lift weights slowly with control.
- Resist the urge to use momentum to lift your weights. If you find yourself swinging a weight or using momentum, lower the weight.
- Use your breath. You should exhale when lifting, pushing or pulling. Inhale as you release your muscles.
- Increase your weight or resistance as you become stronger. This is how you get stronger. You should feel tired on the last couple of repetitions. If you’re not tired, you may need to increase your weight.
- Strength-train all the major muscle groups in your body twice a week. Give yourself at least 48 hours of rest between workouts. If it’s too much to work out your entire body during one session, you can break up your workouts. On one day, strengthen your upper body. On another day, work out your legs. Just be sure that you strengthen the entire body twice a week.