Many people are familiar with the recommendation to exercise for 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week. What many Americans neglect, however, is the importance of resistance (anaerobic or strength) training. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends generally healthy adults engage in muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week for all major muscle groups.
Routine strength training has several benefits such as building and maintaining muscle mass, improving quality of life, and supporting strong bones. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, around the age of 40 muscle mass begins to decline due to an age-related condition known as sarcopenia. Incorporating resistance training into your weekly workout routine can help slow and even prevent excess amounts of age-related muscle loss. Weight-bearing exercise also helps build bone mineral density. For most adults, bone loss begins to occur after the third decade of life as a natural part of aging. Weight-bearing exercise and resistance training can help prevent age-related bone loss and reduce risk of osteoporosis.
Make strength training a routine habit by identifying potential barriers that would prevent you from reaching the muscle-strengthening recommendations. Then brainstorm solutions to overcome them.
One common barrier for many people is the gym. Memberships can be expensive, the weight area may seem intimidating, and on certain days you might just not feel motivated to get there. Fortunately, you can build strong bones and muscles in the comfort of your own home. If you’re new to strength training, start by using just your body weight to establish proper form. From there you can use resistance bands, free weights, canned goods, laundry detergent, and other common household goods to add resistance.
Check out this workout that uses canned goods to sculpt and strengthen your upper body.
Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Written by BWS Dietitian-Melissa Morningstar Vajas RD, LD
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