Happy Wednesday! Homework check…how’d you do with your homework last week? Are you getting 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week? I hope you’ve found some activities that you enjoy and are having FUN trying new activities.
Today we’ll continue discussing those 6 key actions to get your health back on track.
6 Actions to Get YOU Back on Track
1. Get 30 – 60 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days per week.
2. Perform strength-training exercises 2 – 3 days per week.
3. Eat a healthy breakfast every day.
4. Drink 6 -8 glasses of water each day.
5. Eat 3 cups of veggies each day.
6. Eat 2 fruits each day.
This week we’re focusing on action #2:
Perform strength-training exercises 2 to 3 days per week.
About Strength Exercises
Small changes in muscle strength can make a real difference in function. An increase in muscle can make it easier to do everyday things like getting up from a chair, climbing stairs, carrying groceries, and even playing with your grandkids. Lower-body strength exercises will also improve your balance!
To do most strength exercises, you need to lift or push weights. You can use weights, resistance bands, or common objects from your home. You can also use strength-training equipment at a fitness center or gym. Start with light weights and gradually increase the amount of weight you use.
How Much, How Often
Try to do strength exercises for all of your major muscle groups 2 or more days per week for at least 30 minutes. The major muscle groups include the legs and butt, chest, back, shoulders, arms, and core. Make sure you don’t exercise the same muscle groups on any 2 days in a row. For example, if you exercise your shoulders on Monday, you would want to wait until at least Wednesday or Thursday to perform shoulder exercises again.
- Use light weight the first week, then gradually add more weight. If you start out using weights that are too heavy, you might get injured.
- You need to challenge your muscles to get the most benefit from strength exercises. It should feel somewhere between hard and very hard for you to lift or push the weight.
- Take 3 seconds to lift or push a weight into place, hold that position for 1 second, and take another 3 seconds to return to the starting position. Be careful not to drop the weight. You work the muscles even when you’re lowering the weight, so make sure you take that full 3 seconds in the lowering phase.
- If you can’t lift or push a weight 8 times, it’s too heavy. If you can do more than 15, it’s too light.
- Aim for 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise. Think of this as your goal. If you can’t do that many when you first begin, just do as many as you can. Keep working hard, and you’ll reach your goal overtime.
- When you can perform 8 to 12 reps with ease, add a second set. Eventually, you want to do 2 to 3 sets of each exercise.
A repetition, or rep, is one complete movement of an exercise, and a set is one group of reps.
Talk to your doctor if you are unsure about doing specific exercises. If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk about which exercises might be best for you and if there are any that you should avoid.
Don’t hold your breath. Sometimes, especially when you’re lifting heavy weights, you might find yourself holding your breath. Although this might sound silly, make sure you remind yourself to breath. Holding your breath while straining can cause changes in blood pressure. This is especially true for people with heart disease.
Proper form is crucial to prevent injury. If you’re unsure on your form, try working with a trainer or coach a few times until you feel comfortable exercising on your own.
Be careful not to jerk or thrust the weights into position. Use smooth, steady movements. If that means using a lighter weight, that’s okay. Proper form is more important than lifting heavy.
Muscle soreness lasting a few days and slight fatigue are normal after muscle-building exercises, at least at first. After doing these exercises for a few weeks, you probably won’t get as sore.
You don’t have to go out and buy weights or get a gym membership for strength exercises. You can make your own weights for various household items:
- Fill a plastic milk jug with sand or water and tape the opening securely closed.
- Fill a sock with dried beans, and tie it up at the end.
- Use common grocery items, such as bags of rice, soup cans, or bottled water.
On your calendar, select 2 days over the course of the next week to perform strength training exercises. Then, make it happen!
If you’re looking for a place to start, click HERE. This will give you detailed instructions of exercises you can do anywhere. Select 5 upper-body exercises and 3 lower-body exercises to start.
And, don’t forget, Boomers N Motion coaches are available for private, individual coaching sessions. We’d love to help you put a plan together that will be safe and effective and designed specifically for YOU! Contact us TODAY for more information.
Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!