Don't Forget to Strength Train

 The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AMA) recommends that all adults under the age of 65 do: a.) moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or b.) vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, three days a week. Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, walking, biking, swimming or aerobics helps people manage and control body weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease and illness like heart disease and diabetes. But many people forget that on top of cardiovascular exercise it is very important to incorporate strength training. The ACSM and AHA recommend to all adults under the age of 65 to strength train twice weekly, doing eight to ten different strength training exercises, with 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

When beginning a strength training regimen, it can be intimidating going into the free weight section of your gym. The weight machines can also be overwhelming; you may wonder how to use this machine and how much weight to lift. As we all know, a gym membership is not necessary when it comes to getting and staying in shape. There are many different types of strength training exercises you can do, in the comfort of your own home, using your own body weight for resistance. Even yoga moves held for longer periods of time are effective ways to build and strengthen muscle. If you are interested in learning more about free weights and weight machines, make sure to book an appointment with a personal trainer to teach you how to the machines and/or free weight equipment. If that isn't possible you can always purchase an instructional video or book.

Just like going for a long walk/run or rocking out in aerobics class makes you feel good, strength training has a host of benefits too. Strength training and building muscle increases the body's metabolic rate helping you to burn more calories. It also helps us avoid the one-half pound of muscle mass that each adult begins losing after the age of 20. Lastly studies have shown that tightening up one's body with strength training and seeing the results, increases self-image and confidence, which in turn makes it easier to stick with an exercise routine. 

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