the benefits of strength training

As you age your muscle mass diminishes, and strength training is one of the best ways to replace the lean muscle mass that you’ve lost. 

If you don’t challenge your muscles in this way, the percentage of fat in your body will keep increasing while your muscle mass will keep decreasing.

So strength training is of utmost importance as you get older, but should ideally be done regularly throughout your life to both preserve and enhance your muscle mass.

Strength training also offers these additional benefits:
• Increases your bone density while lowering your risk of osteoporosis
• Lose weight (the more muscle you have, the more efficiently your body burns calories)
• Protects your joints from injury
• Helps maintain flexibility and balance
• Improves your stamina and reduces fatigue

How to Use Strength Training for Optimal Benefits
Contrary to popular belief, a 1-set strength training routine is typically plenty to get the most out of your workout.
A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise confirmed that for the average person exercising by strength training, the number of repetitions (the number of times a muscle or group of muscles is used to lift a weight) is not of major importance; a single set of repetitions was found to be almost as effective in maintaining fitness as three sets.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) -- the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world -- and the U.S. Surgeon General have also been recommending a 1-set exercise program for some time.

So incorporating a simple 1-set, five- to 30-minute weight lifting routine into your regular program will definitely improve fitness, and is a practical, obtainable goal for most people. There are some key concepts to keep in mind, however, as not just any set of weight training will do.
You need to do enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. The weight should be heavy enough that this can be done in fewer than 12 repetitions, yet light enough to do a minimum of four repetitions. It is also important NOT to exercise the same muscle groups every day. They need at least two days of rest to recover, repair and rebuild -- more is not better here.

It is highly recommended to find a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals
So along with your strength training program, make sure you also incorporate the following into your exercise routine :

1. Aerobic : Jogging, using an elliptical machine, and walking fast are all examples of aerobic exercise. As you get your heart pumping, the amount of oxygen in your blood improves, and endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, increase.
Meanwhile, aerobic exercise activates your immune system, helps your heart pump blood more efficiently, and increases your stamina over time.

2. Interval (Anaerobic) Training : Research is showing that the BEST way to condition your heart and burn fat is NOT to jog or walk steadily for an hour. Instead, it’s alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods.
intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin within the exercising muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation increases weight loss. So, short bursts of activity done at a very high intensity can help you reach your optimal weight and level of fitness, in a shorter amount of time.

3. Core Exercises: Your body has 29 core muscles located mostly in your back, abdomen and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury and help you gain greater balance and stability.

Exercise programs like Pilates and yoga are great for strengthening your core muscles, as are specific exercises you can learn from a personal trainer.

Ready to Get Started ?
More than half of our adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, and one out of four don’t exercise at all.


A lack of time is the most common reason given for not exercising.

To help avoid falling into this trap, you need to arrange your schedule around exercise. Plan it into your day the same way you would an important meeting and consider it non-negotiable, like mealtimes and sleep.

When you begin to view exercise as a necessary component to your health, rather than a luxury, it becomes easier to find time for it during even the busiest days. For you, the best time to exercise may be first thing in the morning. Others may find early afternoon to work best.

The important key to remember is that it doesn’t matter when you exercise (with the exception of exercising too close to bedtime, which can keep you awake), just that you make time for it most days of the week.

Four  of the most common mistakes leading to injury, and how to avoid them.
1)   Skipping your warm-up:
Working cold, stiff muscles can lead to sprains and tears. A dynamic warm-up can decrease your risk for injury.
 2) Using sloppy form:
Proper form is the single most important factor in injury prevention. Stand straight, look forward, keep your abs tight, and keep your knees over your second toe.
3)  Stressing your shoulders:
Doing too many exercises in which your elbows are pulled behind your body can overstretch the connective tissue in the front of the joints.
Don't allow your elbows to extend more than two inches behind your body.
4)  Neglecting opposing muscle groups:
Strength imbalances can make you more prone to injury. For every exercise that works the front of your body, be sure to do an exercise that targets the rear.
A couple of strategies that can not only make your weight training workouts safer, so that you're less likely to sustain injury, but can also help simplify and speed up your routine.