So, you want to start strength training because you know it will strengthen your bones and boost your metabolism. You have not done any strength training, or you haven’t done any recently and you don’t know where to start. Should I go to a gym? Should I get a trainer? Should I buy a workout DVD? Should I buy weights? How much will all this cost? You know there will be some muscle soreness, but you want to be able to get out of bed the next day. You’re a little worried about injuries. No, make that you’re a LOT worried about injuries. If you get injured, you may not be able to work, or do the activities you need to do every day.
The best advice is to start slowly. Use your body’s own weight at first as your resistance. Keep the exercises simple. Do less reps of each exercise in the beginning and gradually add reps. Start out doing only a few rounds of the workout and add rounds as you get stronger. In the workout below, there are ways to make each exercise more intense as you get stronger too. For example, thigh push-ups can become push-ups on your toes. Russian twists can be done while holding your feet slightly above the ground and half squats can become full squats. The stretches at the end of each round target the muscles you used during the workout phase. They will also help increase your flexibility.
Try this Pinterest beginner bodyweight workout. Do it 2-3 times a week with a day in between each time you do it. If you already do cardio exercise, do that on the days in between. If you are consistent and do this workout at least twice a week, increasing the intensity and length of the workout as you get stronger, you will see results. Comment and let me know how you are doing!
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Weak brittle bones, who wants them?? Broken bones, especially in older adults can mean the beginning of declining health. I am just getting to the point where my time is my own again. I don’t want something like osteoporosis slowing me down, do you?
Why are menopausal women at greater risk for Osteoporosis?
- During and after menopause the amount of estrogen in a woman’s body decreases which slows down the production of bone. Women in this stage of life can lose up to 38% of the bone growth they accumulated during peak bone growth years (up to age 17).
- Some older women become more sedentary as they age. Being sedentary is described as standing for less than four hours per day. When your bones are not subject to weight bearing, they naturally atrophy.
Other lifestyle risks that contribute to bone loss
- If you smoke or drink an excessive amount of alcohol
- If your diet does not include adequate amounts of calcium
- If you do not get adequate amounts of sunshine (Vitamin D)
How to prevent bone loss during and after menopause
The good news is any type of weight bearing exercise has been proven to prevent bone loss and keep your bones strong. Weight bearing exercise is anything that works against gravity. That means if you don’t own weights or have access to a gym, you can still do weight bearing exercise by doing body weight exercises (think squats, planks, push-ups etc.) Walking, jogging, dancing and jumping are also considered weight bearing exercise. To get maximum bone building benefits, you should take part in 30 to 60 minutes of weight bearing exercises for and least 3 days per week.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let bone loss slow you down. Fight back with weight bearing exercise!
About 10 weeks ago, I started a new home workout program called PiYo. I told myself I would do a review here when I had completed the program so here it is!
- It starts you out slowly– The first three weeks get you started with lower intensity workouts. These workouts are the building blocks, strengthening your muscles for the higher intensity workouts that begin to be included in week four. By week five the workouts are more intense, but your body is ready for it. This cuts down on the muscle soreness which causes you to walk strangely, especially up and down steps!
- There are built in modifications– I have been working out consistently for a long time. If this was my very first workout experience, even the low intensity workouts could have been a challenge. Chalene Johnson planned for this and has a class member demonstrate modifications for every exercise. You can follow the modifications until you’re ready for a little more intensity.
- No equipment needed-None, zero, nada. Every exercise is done with your own body weight. This is good news for your bank account.
- No/low impact-If you don’t want all the joint jarring jumping in your workout, but still want the intensity, PiYo is it.
- Keeps you flexible and well balanced– If you are getting older (and who isn’t?) these yoga inspired workouts will keep Father Time from robbing you of these two important body qualities.
- Fun-I get bored with the same old, same old. This is something different and challenging.
- Lack of upper body pulling movements– The upper body exercises have to rely on pushing movements only, mainly because there is no equipment (see pro #3). This can leave you with tight pecs and rounded shoulders. See my post next week to see how I compensated for this.
- A lot of sweating when you are upside down- (downward dog position). Highly uncomfortable. Keep a towel handy that you can grab quickly.
- Hard to see the instructor when you are upside down- Make sure you WATCH the Allign video first and then try the exercises. Watching each of the videos before you actually try them would be helpful too.
The really good thing about PiYo is there are live classes all over the country. If you are not sure you would like this program, go to a local fitness center that offers PiYo classes and try a few. If you like the live classes, the PiYo basic workout is a great buy. I got mine for under $50. I get a discount because I’m a coach, but the regular price is beween $50 and $60. Once you have it, you can use it forever…or at least until your DVD player breaks down!
Let me know what YOU think of PiYo after you try it.
In the last year or so , there has been a switch in the fitness world to shorter, more intense workouts. Many of the people who joined the P90X and other extreme fitness movements got great results. They also found that they couldn’t fit hour long workouts into their schedule six days a week for the long term. People still wanted the good results, but they wanted them in a shorter period of time.
Enter High Intensity Interval Training and Tabatas type workouts. After all, who doesn’t want good results in a fraction of the time, right? The at home fitness industry has answered with workouts like T25, Turbofire and P90X3. These are great, but what if you are just starting out? You have to be careful that a more intense workout doesn’t leave you injured.
The key is starting at a lower intensity level and working your way up. If the workout calls for a burpee, for example, there are several different levels you can start at and work your way up. Most DVD type workouts have one person demonstrating the modified version. Stick with that until you are fit enough. Want to put your own workout together or modify a more intense one you already have? Here are several videos I made that demonstrate body weight exercises at several different levels. Use them to pick the intensity that’s right for you. Then get more intense as you get more fit!
This week’s post was going to be a review of my new Fitbit Flex, but something else has has become a priority in my brain these days. I am officially a member of the sandwich generation. You know, we’re the ones who have been taking care of children and now need to take care of aging parents as well. Over the last five years, my mother-in-law has been facing declining health. It’s been due largely to osteoporosis. She has fallen three times in the last five years. In those falls, she has broken each humerus and her pelvis (twice).
Right now she is in a nursing home working hard to get better so she can come home from her latest fall. Her days are filled with physical therapy, doctor’s appointments and pain.
According to the National Osteoporosis foundation, 60% of adults age 50 and over are at risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis. Preventing this quality of life robbing disease includes eating foods (or taking supplements) that contain Calcium and Vitamin D as well as Magnesium, Potassium, and vitamins C and K.
Exercise is REALLY important too. You need three types to keep your bones working like they should. You need weight bearing exercises, strength training, and balance, posture and functional exercises.
Weight bearing exercises are what we usually think of as aerobic exercise. Running, dancing, hiking and tennis are just a few examples. Strength training is exercise performed with resistance. Body weight exercises, free weights, weight machines, resistance bands all are used to strength train. Balance and posture exercises will help with preventing falls. Functional exercises are designed to mimic movements you need for activities of daily living. Having more strength, stamina and balance during ADL will prevent falls that lead to broken bones.
People (especially women), the time to make these adjustments to your lifestyle is NOW. Don’t wait. Many times the first symptom of osteoporosis is a broken bone. By then, it may be too late to keep this disease from stealing your quality of life.
Strength Training is an essential part of everyone’s workout plan. Trouble is, there are some myths floating around that keep many people from strength training. Some people won’t even consider it because of these myths. With the help of the American Council on Exercise, I am here to bust seven of them.
- Women will build bulky muscles when they strength train: Ladies, one essential element is missing from our makeup that makes this a myth. Tons of testosterone. Sure we all have a little of the male hormone running around in our systems, but not enough to look like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of old. If women strength train, even with heavy weights three times per week, we will tone up and look leaner and younger. We also will increase our metabolisms which means (BONUS) we can eat more healthy food without adding fat to our frames. Who’s not in favor of that??
- You should use light weights and a high amount of reps to tone and heavy weights and low reps to build muscle: This is one I had heard (and believed) for years. Truth is, weather you use heavy weights and low reps, or lighter weights and more reps, your results when it comes to muscle endurance, strength and size will be similar as long as the targeted muscles fatigue in less than 90 seconds.
- At some point, you will get too old to lift weights: The good news is that older muscles are very responsive to resistance training. In 2009 a group of 90 year old participants added 4 lbs. of muscle in just 14 weeks of strength training. Strength training has also been shown to add bone density for older adults which is more good news in the fight against osteoporosis.
- Kids are too young to lift weights: Not true. The key here is a properly designed program, so have a qualified professional (like a certified personal trainer) work with your child. The biggest benefit for kids is increased bone density. Nine year old girls who took part in a 10 month strength training program increased their bone density by 6.2%. The control group had only a 1.4% increase. Weightlifting also has a much better safety record than other sports activities your children can participate in.
- Free Weights are always better than machines: Both types of weights come out even when looking at factors such as concentric and eccentric muscle actions and progressive resistance that fatigues the prime mover muscle groups. Each type has its particular advantages and disadvantages, so you would have to do your research and see which type would be best for your situation.
- When you stop strength training the muscle turns to fat: Not only untrue, but impossible. Muscle tissue and fat tissue can’t magically “turn into” each other. When you weight train, your muscles get firmer and stronger and your metabolism increases to get energy to these new and improved muscles. If you continue to eat the same amount of calories as before, your body will use its fat stores to send energy to the muscles (even while you are at rest). If you stop strength training, just the opposite happens. You are more likely to put those fat stores back on. So make weight training a lifestyle commitment. If an injury or illness stops you for any length of time, reduce your calorie intake and avoid the add-on of unwanted fat.
- Strength training is bad for your blood pressure: Wrong again. Circuit strength training has a positive affect on resting blood pressure. Research shows an average of 4% lowering of diastolic blood pressure and a 3% lowering of systolic blood pressure after several weeks of circuit strength training. Myths about this more than likely got started when people held their breath during weight training. So remember, keep breathing during strength training sessions.
So…good for women, men, older adults and children. What’s stopping you?? Get started in a strength training program today!