As you begin to Move More, you may wonder what types of activities you should be doing to get the most benefits for your health. While walking everyday (an easy, free aerobic activity) will help you meet the general physical activity guidelines, experts recommend adding muscle strengthening activities for even greater benefits.
Have you ever seen a guy with big biceps but teeny, tiny legs? Don’t be like him, remember to work all your major muscle groups:
- Abdomen (core)
As you start a new strength training program, remember to stay safe.
Always warm up. A brisk 5 minute walk followed by some light stretching will get your muscles ready to work.
Don’t overdo it. It is normal to get a little sore when starting a new exercise program, but don’t push beyond your limits too quickly. Start with lighter weights and/or fewer repetitions (reps) and focus on proper form. When you can safely preform the exercise, then you increase the intensity with bigger weights or more reps. (More info here on the Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Technique from the Mayo Clinic.)
Strength training is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Muscle strengthening exercises can:
- Help tone your body, making you look better
- Increase your metabolism, helping you lose weight
- Help your body use insulin efficiently, possibly preventing diabetes
- Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, improving your heart health
- Relieve low back and arthritis pain, helping you feel better
- Strengthen bones, helping prevent broken bones in old age
- Improve mobility and memory as you age, keeping older adults independent
There isn’t a pill that can do all that!
Here are two workout programs to help you get started. Neither uses any equipment and can be done at home.
The Scientific 7 Minute Workout from The New York Times
The 30 Minute Lunch Workout from ACE Fitness
I challenge you to create a SMART Goal to Move More by adding strength training to your physical activity routine.