Did you know that when you train with weights, you’re boosting your health?
Weight training isn’t just for gym junkies with bulging biceps and super-sized shoulders. We’re talking about strength, not show! In 2010, the World Health Organisation released its findings and recommendations for global physical activity. They advised that adults aged 18-64 years old should do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
You can gain a lot from weight training! (And we’re not talking muscle size!) It helps improve how your body converts food and drink to energy (your metabolism), keeps disease at bay, maintains and improves bone density, and does wonders for your cholesterol. Weight based training helps reduce blood pressure, body fat and your risk of diabetes. You’ll also find yourself thinking, moving and sleeping better.
Muscle-strengthening activities can include the following:
- Lifting weights: barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells
- Resistance bands or body weight: e.g. push-ups, sit-ups, planking and squats
If you don’t fancy the gym or a boot camp, some or all of these exercises can even be done at home. Movements that involve body weight or bands are quick, easy and inexpensive to work into your daily routine.
Get yourself moving in the morning! With some targeted exercises, you’ll find that burst of energy you need for the day ahead. And best of all, anyone can do them, regardless of age or fitness level.
A simple morning routine might start like this:
- Warm up to avoid injury!
- Jog up and down on the spot, walk up and down stairs several times or use a skipping rope
- 10 squats
- (place your hands on a table or chair back if you need extra support)
- 10 push ups
- (do these leaning against a wall, a table or chair back or on your knees to begin with)
- 10 lunges, alternating legs after 5
- (if you need support, stand on one spot and hold onto a table to the side of you or a chair back in front of you)
- 10 second plank
- (start with your knees on the floor if full plank is too difficult and vary the hold time depending on how strong you feel)
- 10 star jumps
- (or a walking version: step one foot to the other, side to side, whilst lifting and lowering your arms)
- Repeat 2 or 3 times.
- Do more as you get stronger and fitter, increasing your reps (i.e. the number of times you do each exercise).
Add in different exercises once you’re feeling confident. Burpees are apparently one of the best workouts you can do. Challenge yourself and increase how many you do each session. Maybe build up to doing them every day. Then there are sit-ups, crunches, dips, hand-walks… the list is endless, so you shouldn’t get bored!
Most important of all, if you have any health concerns – please consult your doctor and a fitness instructor before starting any new exercise regimes.
Happy weight training!