When we think about strength training, we often think of weight lifting and picture famously muscled people like Arnold Schwartzenegger. But, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to benefit from this form of exercise.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two times a week.
The Mayo Clinic reports that strength training can help you develop strong bones, manage your weight, manage chronic conditions and sharpen your thinking.
Strength training doesn’t have to mean pumping iron. In fact, Harvard Health suggests starting with no weight, or very light weight. You can do many exercises just using your own body weight, such as push ups and crunches. Resistance tubing is another popular alternative to free weights and weight machines. If you do decide to go for the kettlebells or bench press, be sure to get some instruction from a professional first. Poor form can prompt injuries.
Also, make practical goals. You might not be interested in how much weight you can lift, but might want to improve functional fitness. “Your functional fitness involves the ability to control your center of gravity and produce force in a biomechanically safe way,” according to Richard Butler,an exercise physiologist. Functional fitness is the combination of balance and power that helps you swing a golf club or a tennis racquet, climb the stairs quickly and is essential to moving through your day with ease.” For example, doing bicep curls can help you carry shopping bags or tote luggage with less difficulty.