Many women do not include strength training in their exercise programme despite the many benefits it can bring. Any exercise programme should consist of the three main components of strength, cardiovascular (aerobic) and flexibility. You also need to be aware of the importance of adequate warm up, cool down and recovery periods. Any professional athlete will ensure that their training is balanced between the three components but many exercisers neglect at least one area of fitness. Like a chain the body is only as strong as its weakest link and therefore, without all three exercise essentials in your programme, your results will be limited.
Regular muscular strength and endurance exercises can give a toned physique, improve posture and keep the joints well stabilised and body strong. This will make you less prone to injury and can also help change your body composition to one of more muscle and less fat thereby increasing metabolism and aiding weight loss.
Strength work needs a form of resistance and this can come from your own body weight , hand weights, resistance bands or strength equipment and should involve all the major muscle groups.
Adult on-set diabetes is a growing problem and it is feared may become epidemic within the next decade or two. Recent research indicates that strength training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 per cent in just four months.
Cardiovascular or aerobic work helps to strengthen and improve the efficiency of the heart and lungs. It can also help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, dramatically reducing your risk of heart and respiratory disease. Aerobic exercise can come from any activity which increases your heart and breathing rate for example, brisk walking, jogging, energetic dancing, skipping, active sports and cycling. For full benefits your exercise programme should include at least three sessions weekly of continuous aerobic exercise lasting for a minimum 20 minutes.
Strength and cardiovascular exercise causes the muscles to contract. Repeated contraction without stretching a muscle back out will result in muscle tightness, loss of joint mobility and stiffness. As we age we can also lose our natural suppleness and flexibility and therefore stretching is essential to maintain this. Stretching should always be performed slowly and without bouncing. Try 10 minutes of gentle stretching everyday gradually progressing the range of mobility and always include stretching in the cool down of any exercise session.
All exercise is beneficial to energy levels, mental state and clarity and improved mood - even helping to lift mild depression – So what are you weighting for.
Author: Donna Milligan ITEC dip GPP
By Donna Milligan ITEC dip GPP
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