As Mark Twain once said,
“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.“
Good thing wrinkles don't decide what we can or cannot do when it comes to our health. As cliché as it sounds, age is JUST a number. Age doesn't predetermine our level of health, fitness or well-being it's just an indicator of life experiences… a lifestyle founded on the belief that personal health is of paramount importance, will ultimately lead us down a lifelong path of awesomeness.
So what makes up a well-rounded exercise program? Well, let's explore that…
3 Primary Components of a well-rounded exercise program:
- Strength or resistance training;
- Cardiovascular conditioning or aerobics; and,
- Some emphasis on mobility and flexibility.
It is all too easy for us to focus on just one of these areas, such as spending endless hours slaving away on the treadmill or elliptical. After all, that’s far less challenging than putting a heavy bar on our back for squats.
Whether you’re an 18-year-old that’s just starting to exercise or you’re entering into your late 50s and want a simple exercise program to stay fit and healthy, weightlifting of some kind should make up a portion of your fitness routine.
Don't believe me that age is just a number? Check out Johanna Quaas and Ernestine Shepherd's stories…
Question No. 1: Why Should I Lift Weights?
Strength training offers many health benefits far beyond simply helping you build pretty muscles.
Increased muscle mass helps increase our basal metabolic rate (BMR). This in turn means your body burns more calories on a daily basis, even if you don’t perform any other exercise.
Simply put, having more muscle on your body will generally make it easier for you to lose fat!
Resistance training is also associated with an increase in bone density. This, in combination with added muscle mass, is incredibly important for older adults who may start to experience degenerative diseases.
What’s more, strength training is linked to improvements in everything from mood and cognitive function to blood cholesterol levels.
With all these benefits, it should now be clear why just about every gym, fitness club and personal trainer in the world places strength training at the very core of most of their programs.
Check out the following post on the Good, Bad and the Ugly of working out.
Question No. 2: How to Get Started with a Lifting Program
How you begin your weightlifting routine is dependent on a range of factors such as your age, health, and current fitness levels. If you unsure what the right routine is to start, then speak to a fitness professional at your local gym and get some advice.
No matter what, it is important to ease into any new form of exercise gradually, allowing your body to get more from less and only adding more frequency and intensity as you need it.
Try splitting your weight training into three workouts, focusing on your:
- Pushing muscles (chest, triceps, and shoulders);
- Pulling muscles (back and biceps); and,
- Lower body (legs [and glutes for women]).
This will allow one group of muscles to recover while you're training the others. It will also help shorten your workouts so you can carve out time to merge some aerobic activity and improve your cardiovascular health.
Be sure to also include some form of stretching after each workout, focusing primarily on the muscles you have just trained to help growth and repair.