If you are over 40, strength training (also called resistance training) is especially important to add to your fitness program if it isn’t already a part of it. Strength training is exercise that causes your muscles to contract against an external resistance. It not only increases your strength but muscle tone and endurance as well.
In essence, resistance training is all about lifting weights to build up your muscles. You can use free weights like dumbbells or hand weights, exercise bands, or even your own body weight. You can even improvise weights with things you find around the house like soup cans or milk jugs.
Using your own body weight is the easiest way to start doing strength training after 40. These exercises do not require long, repetitive workouts. You also don’t need a gym full of fancy equipment either. All you need are yourself and a few simple props such as a chair, a bench, a stool, or the wall to get started. In less than two hours a month, you can start to see results.
One of the major benefits of strength training over 40 is that it causes very little damage to the body compared to other physical activity such as running or biking. Short, intense workouts build muscle up and have shown to reverse aging. Strenuous exercise over long periods of time tears down the body and can speed up the aging process.
The other benefit of strength training at 40 plus is that you can keep doing this training the rest of your life. You can work out at 40, 50, 60, and even later. We lose muscle as we age and resistance training helps you keep your muscle mass and not lose as much as you age. It also is beneficial to reduce stress and prevent injury. This is especially important as injuries take longer to heal the older you get.
You can get started with strength training at your local gym or at home with a structured work out program. Many gyms now have circuit programs where you complete a set of resistance training exercises on weight machines. These machines are adjustable for your height and physical ability so you can modify your routine as you grow stronger or are recovering from an injury.
There are many home programs as well. Check out your local library for books or DVDs of resistance training programs. There are even phone apps that track your progress and give you tips and encouragement along the way.
Don’t become a couch potato in your 40s. Get up and start some strength training. You’ll feel better and the benefits will last the rest of your life.
You might want to check out my review of the Old School New Body Diet & Workout Program which is a complete diet and strength training program for people over 40.
Originally published here: Strength Training Is Right For Those Over 40