December 13, 2010
While aerobic exercises such as running, swimming and biking provide numerous benefits to your heart, lungs and overall fitness, adding strength training exercises is also important. Sarcopenia, a gradual loss of muscle tissue, and osteopenia, a gradual loss of bone mass, often begin relatively early in life. The Harvard Medical School reports that the average 30-year-old will lose about 25 percent of their muscle mass and strength by age 70, and another 25 percent by age 90. As muscle tissue, strength and bone density continue to decrease with age, strength training is a key strategy you can implement in your weekly exercise routine to combat, and perhaps even reverse, these losses.
Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), strength training has been proven to minimize the onset and symptoms of many chronic health conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, depression, poor balance, insomnia, and heart disease. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends strength training for major muscle groups (arms, shoulders, chest, back, abdomen, hips, and legs) at least two days per week. In addition, the guidelines suggest at least one day of rest between strength training exercises for the same muscle groups.
Some great beginner weight-bearing exercises include wall push-ups, standing calf raises, triceps dips, squats, biceps curls, and more. For detailed descriptions and diagrams of these exercises, visit the CDC website.