Strength Training

Strength training refers to adding resistance to your muscles as they work. This will increase bone and muscle strength. Improving muscle strength and endurance offers numerous cardiovascular health benefits including increased agility and thus decreased risk of falling. Gains in musculoskeletal fitness can lead to the ability to sustain daily activities longer before fatiguing. It can also decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis and increase your metabolic rate so you burn more calories, even while at rest. Strength or resistance training can include: 

  • Weight machines
  • Hand-held weights
  • Resistance rubber bands or tension bands
  • Your own body weight (as with push-ups and curl-ups/sit-ups)

General Strength Training Guidelines and Safety Tips:

  • Warm up your muscles to prepare them for strength training
  • Begin with exercises that strengthen large muscle groups first
  • Select a weight that you can lift eight to 12 times (for healthy, sedentary population) or 10 to 15 repetitions (elderly or cardiac population), to a point of fatigue but without straining
  • Perform one set of each exercise two to three times per week with a minimum of two days rest between sessions
  • Adding more sets may slightly increase strength gains although this requires additional time and effort and increases risk of injury
  • Avoid sustained, tight gripping which may lead to an excessive blood pressure response
  • Breath regularly. Do not hold your breath or grunt while lifting
  • Always lift weights in a slow and controlled manner (up in one to two seconds and down in three to four seconds) - do not let momentum take over which will decrease the benefits and increase your risk of injury
  • Lift weights or move tension bands through the full of motion
  • To continue to achieve further strength gains, increase the amount of resistance periodically
  • Stop exercise immediately in the event of warning signs or symptoms, especially dizziness, palpitations, unusual shortness of breath or chest pain

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