Muscle-strengthening activities involve weights, bands or body weight and work your muscles to maintain a specific movement. Bicep curls, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and lunges are some examples of specific exercises. Muscle-strengthening activities, or resistance training, can help you shape your body into a sculpture of health!
How often should I do muscle-strengthening activities? In addition to cardio/aerobic activities, the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend the adults should engage in muscle-strengthening activities for all major muscle groups arms, legs, abdominals, chest, back and gluteal two or more days per week.
Why is strength or resistance training important? Muscle strengthening or resistance training helps you increase the muscle mass in your body. The more muscle you have, the more calories (energy) you will be able to burn. Compared to fat cells, muscle cells are very active, and they are constantly repairing and working. The more resistance training you engage in, the more you stimulate your muscle cells to work and repair so they are ready for the next workout and other daily activities. Strengthening your muscles will increase the amount of calories you burn at rest.
Resistance training is also important to maintain bone health. Research shows that resistance training keeps the muscles strong and able to support the bones in your body. As a result, resistance training can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
I have never participated in strength training. Who can help me get started? Personal trainers and exercise physiologists at your local gym or recreation center can teach you resistance moves in a safe manner. Find a trainer near you by visiting the American College of Sports Medicine.
What about yoga and Pilates? Yoga and Pilates incorporate stretching exercises with resistance training. These activities involve movements that use body weight in resistance movements, especially those that work the â€ścoreâ€ť (abdominals and back). Yoga and Pilates also improve flexibility through stretching movements.
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