Fitness Tips: June 5, 2017

Strength training is an important part of overall fitness. Find out about the benefits and learn how to design an effective strength-training program.

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Strength Training Equipment: A User's Guide

According to the latest recommendations from the American Council on Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association, you should be including strength training twice a week as part of your overall fitness routine. Research shows that strength exercises are safe for all ages and that strength training combined with aerobic exercise can improve your physical and mental health.

The Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training is important for everybody, but even more so for older adults because it can slow down the loss of bone and muscle that goes along with aging. Other benefits include:
  • Weight control
  • Lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Relief from arthritis
  • Better balance and fall prevention
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Fighting depression
You can get strength training from calisthenics, free weights, machines, and other types of equipment. The important thing is to exercise all the major muscle groups including your arms, legs, back, and stomach. The muscles around your center, called your "core muscles," are especially important to target since they stabilize the rest of your body.

Strength training is usually divided into sets and repetitions. Repetitions, or "reps," are the number of times you do an exercise. A group of repetitions – usually between 8 and 15 – is called a set. If you are able to do more than one set of an exercise, always rest for a few minutes between sets. The ACSM recommends 8 to 10 strength training exercises of 8 to 10 repetitions each, twice a week.

For strength training equipment options, click here to read the article.