Focus on strengthening your muscles and bones for better health

Don’t forget to include strength-building activities as least two days week as part of your weekly physical activity routine to keep your muscles and bones strong.

Being more physically active is a great fitness goal. Based on current recommendations, adults ages 18 to 64 should include strength building activities at least two days a week in addition to your other physical activities choices. Strength training helps to build and maintain muscle mass and increase bone density even better than regular aerobic activities. Michigan State University Extension offers programs to help learn how to strengthen your body. Here are a several guidelines to assist you to stay motivated and to prevent muscle strain or injury as you begin to focus on strengthening your muscles and bones.

  • Choose strengthening activities that are appropriate for your fitness level especially if you are just beginning.
  • Consult your health care provider if you have a health issue or are unfamiliar with safe muscle strengthening exercises.
  • Your goal should be to target each of the major muscle groups during your strengthening sessions this includes arms, shoulders, chest, stomach, back, hips and legs for an overall body workout.
  • Start slowly, begin with one set of eight to 12 repetitions for each strengthening exercises. Once your fitness level improves increase the number of repetitions.
  • Each set of exercise repetitions should be done at an even speed, avoid jerking or rushing which can cause injury.
  • Choose a safe place to work out and be sure you are steady and balanced to avoid falling.
  • Remember to breathe regularly throughout each series of strengthening activities.
  • Gradually add new strengthening activities to your routine such as squats or push-ups as variety can help to keep your interest at its peak.
  • To stay motivated choose activities you like to do, add music to your sessions, consider working out with your children or a friend.
  • When using weights begin with light weights and over time increase the number of repetitions.
  • Resistance bands are a good choice as they are easy to use and simple to put away.
  • Increase your weekly routine to three days a week to further strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Alternate your strength training days with your aerobic moderate-intensity physical activities.
  • Tracking your workouts is a helpful idea to see your progress and celebrate your commitment to better health.

There are significant health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Being intentional about increasing your daily and weekly physically activities is such a worthy goal to maintain or improve one’s health. If you are a person with a disability strive to do what you can, realize some activity is better than none. You may be amazed at how quickly your muscles will respond to your twice a week muscle-strengthening workouts.

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