Many seniors shy away from strength training because they think they are too old to work with weights. They might also dread the idea of going to a gym or think they have to use all sorts of complicated and expensive equipment in order to get results.
The good news is that working with light weights and resistance bands can give you real results in the comfort of your own home, without spending a lot of money on fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership.
The most important part of planning a workout or set of workouts is to consider your overall health. Common health issues affecting seniors include arthritis, osteoporosis, heart health issues, obesity, diabetes and more. Discuss your plans with your doctor to start doing strength training. They can give you safety tips and help set your fitness goals.
Once you have set your fitness goals, you can decide what exercises will help you reach those goals. For example, if you want to target your flabby arms or get six pack abs, research exercises that will help with this goal and which you will be able to do as a beginner.
Another important consideration is a good whole body workout versus focusing on trouble spots. Alternate exercises for arms, chest and shoulders, abs and legs, so that no one area gets too tired.
This is especially important if you have any joint issues due to arthritis. Strength training can support your joints and keep them mobile and flexible provided you do not overdo things.
Once you do your research, it will be time to create a few customised workouts to keep you interested and work the parts you wish to focus on. For example, bicep curls, chest presses and tricep kickbacks will all give you nicely sculpted arms and get rid of chicken wing arms with flab dangling down. Vary your routines to keep you motivated.
You can also vary your equipment and exercises for the same reason. Getting sick of your dumbbells? Try resistance bands instead. Add one or two exercises to each of your strength training sessions. Or alternate days, using weights one day, resistance bands the next.
Add light weights or resistance bands to your usual work out moves, such as sit ups, lunges or squats. The extra weight can add variety and intensity for faster results. Enjoy yoga or tai chi? Try some of your moves with resistance bands or wrist and ankle weights and see what a difference it can make to your fitness.
All of these are fast and easy ways to add strength training to your fitness routine. Remember, the best workout is the one you will stick to. Try a few curls, rows and kickbacks and you should soon see a whole new you.
Most people trying to lose weight focus on vigorous aerobic (cardio) exercises. While they are certainly of benefit, strength training has a valuable part to play in helping you lose weight and keep it off.
If you have ever tried to diet by cutting down on what you eat and counting calories, you know how hard it can be to lose weight through diet alone. It takes only 2,000 extra calories to gain a pound but 3,500 calories burned to lose one. This means if you shave 500 calories off your meals each day, you can really only lose 1 pound per week.
For most people this is far too slow a rate of weight loss. But then again, most people want to get instant results. It is time to be realistic. If it were so easy to lose weight that you could just take a pill, we would live in a nation of skinny people. Slimming down takes work, including eating right, counting calories, cooking your own healthy meals, and above all, exercising.
Cardio can help you burn calories during your workout but you might be surprised to discover that strength training can help you keep on burning calories even when you are sleeping! This is because strength training builds lean muscle and muscle burns calories more efficiently than fat. Lean muscle therefore boosts your metabolism, encouraging to burn calories rather than store them.
Resistance bands are perfect for strength training because almost anyone can use them, no matter what their age or level of fitness. Even if you have not worked out in years, resistance bands are easy to use and safe provided that you follow the instructions from the manufacturer of your bands. They can give a great full body workout to slim and tone you all over.
The scale might not go down when you first start using your resistance bands, but in only a short time you should start to notice that your clothes feel less tight and your arms and so on are less flabby and jiggly. You might even discover that you are able to drop a dress size or tighten your belt a few notches. This should inspire you to keep using your resistance bands to improve your fitness even more until the pounds start to come off without the need to starve yourself.
If you have been struggling to shed pounds, add resistance bands to your daily routine and see what a difference they can make to your physique.
Most of us dread the idea of working out. We think of expensive but smelly gyms, confusing weights machines from the space age, sweating all the time, and feeling embarrassed because we feel old and out of shape compared to all the 20-somethings with perfect bodies we see everywhere all pumping iron.
They might have perfect bodies, but they got them by working out. Note the word working. If you put in the work, you too can get a better body. But it does not have to be all work and no play. Strength training can be fun once you know how to get started.
First, you don’t have to go to a gym. You can work out with light weights and resistance bands anywhere in your own home, even in front of the TV watching your favourite show. You don’t need expensive memberships or equipment, just a commitment to devote about 10 to 30 minutes per session to your better body. Head to the kitchen to find some heavy cans or bottles you can grip easily and you will have enough to get started. Once you have mastered several exercises to tone and trim your body, then you can consider investing in some inexpensive weights and/or resistance bands.
In terms of weights, dumbbells come in all shapes and sizes, but if you have not worked out for a while, begin with light weights and gradually increase your load. You can get a tower with several different pairs of weights. Or you can get a fun set of Aquabells, which you fill up with water in order to achieve the weight you want to lift. They come with 4 sets of ‘wells’ per side which will each fill up to 4 pounds of water, for a total of 16 pounds each side. They will therefore ‘grow’ with you as you progress from 2 pounds to 4 and so on upwards.
Then there are wrists and ankle weights. Wrist weights are useful for a ‘hands-free’ workout, for example, as you do the housework or go for a walk and swing your arms to add intensity to the exercise, as well as for many other lifting moves you would usually do with dumbbells.
Ankle weights serve a similar purpose, giving your legs more of a workout so they become firmer faster. You can do ordinary weight lifting exercises with them, or add them to your yoga or tai chi moves, for example, along with wrist weights, to build strength even more rapidly.
Resistance bands come in a range of attractive colours and weight loads. A good set of resistance bands will give you a range of weights, and will also allow you to combine bands to increase your loads. They should also come with a door attachment and an ankle strap so you can do a range of exercise which will help you target your trouble spots or areas you wish to improve. They are a bit like using the space age weight machines to give you a full body workout, but without all the heaving and clanking.
The best exercise routine is one you will stick to. Use light weights and resistance bands to maintain interest and have fun, and see what a difference your new strength training routines can make to your health and appearance.