Get Moving with Muscle-strengthening Activities
We know we’re supposed to get moving…walk, bike, run, swim, and play! But what about muscle-strengthening activities? Besides aerobic activity, the Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults also do muscle-strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week. Muscle-strengthening activities are exercises that make your muscles work harder than usual and should work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) and should be done in addition to your aerobic activity. What does that even mean? It means exercising your muscles against a resistance. This resistance could come from lifting weights or from your own body weight such as doing pushups or leg squats. Without muscle-strengthening activities in your workout plan, you start to lose muscle and bone density as you age. Strength training can stop bone density loss and rebuild some lost muscle. The earlier you start to focus on strengthening your muscles the better! Do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
Some examples of strength training activities include:
• Lifting weights
• Working with resistance bands
• Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (i.e., pushups, sit ups)
• Heavy gardening (i.e., digging, shoveling)
Muscle-strengthening activities provide additional benefits not found with aerobic activity. The benefits of muscle-strengthening activity include increased bone strength and muscular fitness. Strengthening your muscles gives you the ability to perform everyday activities and helps protect your body from injury. Start slow and gradually include muscle-strengthening activities into your weekly activity routine.