Being active and exercising regularly is a proven way to manage your weight and stay healthy. While cardiovascular exercise is important for heart and lung health, strength training offers numerous health benefits as well. Lifting weights regularly improves bone density, body composition, and overall mood. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, but with consistent strength training it is possible to offset this loss.
If you are new to lifting weights, it’s important to start out slow, no more than 2-3 times a week. Using too much weight or having incorrect form can cause injury. If possible, get a certified personal trainer or an experienced friend to show you how to perform different exercises. Frequently check your form to make sure that you are performing the motion correctly.
Not sure if you will like strength training? Don’t worry! There are tons of different ways to do it. Here are just a few of the options available:
Circuit training combines weight lifting and cardio to create a hybrid exercise that allows you to strengthen your muscles while still keeping your heart rate up. With this type of workout, there is little to no rest in between different exercises. Circuit training is high volume, which means you perform more repetitions of each exercise. A standard range is 15-30 repetitions.
This type of strength training focuses solely on making muscles stronger. While you do not get the same cardiovascular benefit that circuit training gives, weightlifting provides faster strength gains. When weightlifting, there are generally breaks in between each exercise in order to allow for muscle rest and recovery. It is important to lift a challenging amount of weight while still maintaining good form. A general range for weightlifting is usually between 8-15 repetitions.
Resistance bands can provide an effective, whole body workout. This versatile piece of equipment is easily adapted to different fitness levels and portable. Most bands come in multiple colors to distinguish the amount of resistance and different workouts for building strength and endurance. You can perform these workouts anywhere from in a gym to in a hotel room when traveling in only 10-20 minutes. A general recommendation is to do exercises in sets of 20 repetitions.
There is your brief introduction to the wonderful world of strength training! Make sure to always consult your health care provider before starting an exercise program. For further information about exercise and Medifast, please refer to the Medifast Exercise Guide.