Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #10 Resistance Exercise

 According to the new position stand by the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy adults should perform resistance exercise (strength training) for each of the major muscle groups 2-3 times per week.  Translation: each muscle group should be worked 2-3 times per week.  Doing two days of arms and 1/2 a day of legs is not balanced (Honey Bun: I'm talking to you here).  You should always use proper form (ask a personal trainer at your gym for more instruction, and if your wife is a trainer it's OK to listen to her). 

Studies have shown that even a single set of exercises will help you to gain muscular strength and size, but two to four sets may show greater gains.  You do not need special equipment!  Use bands, dumbbells, soup cans, or even just your own body weight (ie: push-ups, squats, lunges).

Obviously, resistance exercises will make you stronger, and some hypertrophy (muscle enlargement or toning) may result, but what are the other benefits?  Yes, there are others.

Resistance exercise also effectively increases bone mass and bone strength of the specific bones stressed (the bones that your muscles are pulling on).  This may prevent, slow, or even reverse the loss of bone mass

Strength training may also prevent depression and anxiety, increase energy, and decrease fatigue.  Like intervals, resistance exercise may also help boost your metabolism for 1-12 hours after your workout!  It can also lower blood glucose levels through improved insulin sensitivity.

If you are new to resistance exercise, I recommend trying a fitness class that incorporates strength training at your local gym!  It is a great, safe way to learn new exercises, and make new friends.

Ladies out there: What will strength training NOT do? Make you HUGE! It's not in your genes so put that out of your mind completely.  It may give you some nice pretty feminine muscle definition..... nothing wrong with that, eh?


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