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Get Started With Strength Training: 3 Simple Moves

Published by Dr Girouard M.D.

Updated May 27, 2024

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Have you included strength (or resistance) training exercises in your routine lately? Strength training not only builds muscle but also enhances your metabolism, making it a key component in managing weight, strengthening bones, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.  Combining resistance and cardiovascular training is key for long-term weight maintenance.  As we age, our lean muscle mass naturally starts to decline and with it our metabolic rate.  Worsens yet as testosterone and estrogen levels start to fizzle.  This is one of the reasons that many women after age 40 start to struggle more with excess body weight despite not changing their lifestyle.

You can start transforming your physical health today. Read on to discover five simple moves to revitalize your fitness journey and promote long-term health.

what is Strength Training?

Strength training involves using resistance to build muscular strength and endurance. The main goals are to increase muscle size (hypertrophy), boost muscular strength, and enhance muscle tone, all while contributing to overall physical health. It contrasts with cardiovascular exercises, which aim to improve heart health and increase stamina. Unlike cardio’s sustained, repetitive motion, strength training focuses on short bursts of activity targeting specific muscle groups.

Strength Training’s Role in Weight Loss

Strength training is a powerful ally to weight loss. It elevates your resting metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories when at rest). By building muscle through strength exercises, you increase your lean tissue, which requires more energy to maintain. As your muscle mass increases, your body burns more calories, even when you’re not working out. This contributes to improved body composition, where the ratio of fat to muscle improves as you shed pounds. On top of the weight loss benefits, strength training helps to increase bone density and improve heart health.

Step-by-Step Guide to Essential Strength Exercises

Let’s dive into three excellent strength training exercises anyone can do from home:

1. Squats: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lower your body as if sitting on an invisible chair, keeping your back straight and knees over your toes. Rise back up. It’s a full-body exercise targeting thighs, hips, buttocks, thighs and core muscles.  “Mini-squats” count and are often easier on the knees.  Just bend at he knee a bit and hold for as long as you can, engaging these muscle groups including your core muscles to maximize the activity.  Maybe look at giving this a try when you are standing at the counter cooking.

2. Push-ups: Position your body face down with hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body, keeping your elbows close to your torso, then push back up. This move works the chest, shoulders, and tricep muscles.  For many, push-ups are a much feared and resented exercise.  Try using an elevated surface first – stairs or a piece of stable furniture instead of going all the way to the floor. Or try bending at the knee instead of straight legs  Using an exercise ball may help give an alternative to traditional push-ups that are more friendly and fun.

3. Planks: Lie face down, then prop your body up on your elbows and toes, keeping a straight line from head to heels. Hold the position. Planks are great for core strength, involving the abs, back, and glutes.

Looking for more, exercise bands are a great affordable option.  There are heaps of quick YouTube instruction videos available online to help you use them correctly without getting all tangled up.

the importance of Routine and Progress

Consistency is the bedrock of successful strength training. Schedule your activities even if in short “exercise snacks” through out the day. This will increase your results and maintain the improvements you’ve worked hard for. To avoid plateaus, increase the repetitions or change your exercises as you become stronger. This progressive overload is essential for ongoing muscle development. Adding strength training into your routine two to three days a week will help propel you toward your health and wellness goals  Momentum is key, start today, right now, even if it is just for a few minutes.  Yes, that is right, stand up at your desk while you are reading the rest of this blog and do a “mini-squat” to get you started on your strength training journey.  By consistently challenging your muscles and adapting your resistance activity, you develop motivation and momentum for lasting results.

Enhancing Weight Loss Through Strength Training

Strength training is an integral part in your weight loss journey. The three home exercises outlined above can play a pivotal role in burning fat, sculpting lean muscle, and improving your metabolism. Embrace these movements within your daily routine to maintain a healthier, stronger body. Remember, real and lasting change takes time, requiring a dedicated commitment to strength training. Stay patient and persistent, and you will reap the rewards both now and in the long term.

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