Keeping muscles and bones strong is an important part of staying fit. Were maintaining our muscle by adding strength training to our routines at least twice a week.
We’ve learned about the importance of aerobic activity to maintain good health. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week—in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
Add in strength training
In addition to aerobic activity, the guidelines recommend we fit in some muscle- and bone-strengthening activities at least twice a week. If you’re new to this, it might be a good first step to get the advice of a qualified trainer to set up a workout plan appropriate to your body size and level of strength.
When they think of strength training, people often envision muscle-bound weightlifters hefting heavy barbells at the gym, but this isn’t necessarily so. We can all—and should—maintain muscle, and by all kinds of means. You don’t need to buy a gym membership or buy expensive equipment in order to keep your muscles strong.
Anyone can use free weights (dumbbells) to create a good strength workout. You can start with 2 or 3 pounds for women and 5 or 10 pounds for men.
Simple pieces of equipment, resistance bands are rubber exercise bands that are ideal for strengthening and toning the entire body. The bands come in different resistance levels and range in weight from 5 to 20 pounds.
At the gym
Not only can you benefit from a wide range of equipment at the gym, but you can also access some professional guidance from trainers. These trainers can help you work out a strength-building regimen that is specific to your particular needs. Gyms and recreation centres often offer a wide range of fitness classes that can be especially helpful to those who like to work out among a group.
Don’t forget about some of those jobs around the house. When it comes to strength training, you can get a darned good workout while you also get your floors washed (depending upon just how dirty they were!). Vacuuming, washing walls and windows, washing the car—if you put some elbow grease into these activities, count them up—they all contribute to your muscle maintenance.
How do you maintain muscle?
Do you have a routine to keep your muscles and bones strong? Or does it change with the seasons? Whatever you do to maintain your muscle, we’d love to hear about it. Drop us a line via blog posts or Facebook comments, or by using the Twitter hashtag #2013alive.