Strength training is an important part of any workout routine. It is a type of exercise which helps strengthen the muscle mass of the body. As you age, the muscle strength and bone density in the body tends to weaken resulting in accidents and injuries which can hamper your day to day activities.
Stronger muscles improve the metabolism of the body, help reduce the pressure on the heart and keep blood sugar levels in control. Some simple strength training tips are listed below.
Start off gradually
If you are new to this form of exercise, begin with lighter weights and fewer repetitions, gradually increasing them. Muscle strength is achieved when your muscles get tired momentarily and you cannot continue any further. You will begin to feel this momentary muscle fatigue at the end of a single set of eight to twelve repetitions. Make sure that you rest your muscles for at least two to three minutes before moving on to the next set. Muscles need time to repair, hence do not load your workout schedule with too many strength training exercises else it may lead to injury.
Plan a mix of exercises
Although dumbbells are a convenient and inexpensive form of strength training, you will achieve better results and avoid boredom as well by mixing up your exercises. If you have access to a gym, try out equipments like exercise balls and resistance bands or any other strength training machines that are available. You can sign up for Pilates classes or yoga classes as well to give you that much needed variety and fun in your exercise routine.
Practice proper form
Whatever type of exercise you follow, if your form or posture is not correct, you will not be able to achieve the desired results. It will also add to the risk of injury. Hence it is essential that you learn the correct way to do an exercise. If you are finding it difficult to understand the ideal posture for the exercise, it may be a good idea to fix up a few strength training sessions with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will guide you and monitor the posture of your exercise thereby avoiding injury and help increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
Include whole body exercises
It may seem logical to target your problem areas, however concentrating only on a particular muscle group can lead to muscular imbalance in the body and increase the risk of injury. Moreover, muscles all over the body need to be toned and strengthened for maximum benefits. Concentrate on different muscle groups after every session; for example, you can work on your butt and thigh muscles during one session and move on to your upper body muscles during the next session. Alternatively, you can practice whole body exercises during each session.
Before and after
For maximum benefits and minimum injury, it is essential to warm up before any exercise regime. A simple five minute sprint or spot jogging that will bring up your heart rate is a must. Similarly, stretching your muscles after any workout will contract your muscles and help you feel relaxed.