Hi Fellow New Londoners!!
What is the best way to lose weight? Cardio, cardio, cardio! Right? WRONG!! The best way to lose weight is to incorporate a combination of cardio and strength training into your weekly workouts. We all know that cardio is good for your respiratory system, but strength training added to it will build muscle mass and protect bone health as well. The benefits of strength training include:
- Increased muscular strength (will make you stronger and fitter)
- Increased strength of tendons and ligaments
- Potentially improves flexibility of the joints (range of motion)
- Reduced body fat
- Increased lean body mass (muscle mass)
- May decrease resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure
- Positive changes in blood cholesterol
- Improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
- Improved strength, balance, and functionality in older adults
- Plays a role in disease prevention
- Helps develop better body mechanics
- Boosts energy level and improves mood
- More calories burned
Like with any form of exercise, you need to check with your doctor before starting. If you have any of the following risk factors, contact your doctor:
- Any cardiovascular disease including chest pains at rest or exertion
- Family history of coronary heart disease before the age of 55
- High cholesterol, generally above 200
- Abnormal ECG, or cardiac arrhythmias
- Chronic hypertension
- Extreme obesity
- Any chronic muscular or joint problems
- Currently pregnant, or within 3 months of delivery
- Recent surgery
- Years of sedentary lifestyle
Once your doctor gives you the okay, here are few tips to help you get started. Remember, don’t rush into any exercise before you are properly conditioned and warmed up. If you do, than you could be sitting on the sidelines with an unwanted injury!
- Remember to warm up
- Stretch – do dynamic stretching when warming up (stretching with movement) and static stretching when cooling down. Never warm up with static stretching or you could injure a cold muscle.
- Keep it light during the first week or two until you get used to it.
- Go through the complete range of motion (do not make jerking movements), move slowly and with control, breathe, and maintain a neutral spine.
- The intensity of the workout depends on what you are able to do (i.e. number of sets and repetitions, total weight being lifted, and how long you rest between sets).
- Listen to your body. You cannot rely on your heart rate while lifting weights. You need to be aware of how your body feels as you go through the motions.
- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a minimum of 8-12 repetitions of 8-10 different exercises of moderate intensity two days a week. Do not strength train on consecutive days. You need at least one day in between so that your muscles can recover.
- Training sessions can last about one hour or less.
- DO NOT believe in the statement “No pain, no gain”. Your body will adapt to strength training in its own time and the body soreness will eventually lessen.
Remember not to compare yourself to others. Progress at your own comfort level and you will be feeling and looking stronger before you know it!!