The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently recommends that adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise each week. Most people would already know this. However did you know the WHO also recommends a minimum of 2 days per week performing strengthening exercises, or strength training, for the major muscle groups?
Age is no reason not to take up this type of training. There is no such thing as being too old to start! This MRI is a stark demonstration of just how effective rigorous exercise at any age can be at maintaining muscle bulk:
There is a strong body of evidence that when performed in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, resistance training can provide a whole host of health benefits including:
- decreased risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
- reduced risk of falls (especially in the elderly population)
- improved body composition (increased lean muscle mass)
- increased bone mass density (decreasing risk for fractures)
- improved sporting related performance (increase vertical jump height, sprinting times, power)
- enhanced psychological health (decreased rates of anxiety and depression)
- better life expectancy
Where should you start?
To get you started, here is an example of a workout schedule you can do twice per week (for example, Monday and Thursday). Please note that Nathan trains consistently and all of these exercises can be performed with no bar or a bar without weights. They can also be modified to be performed with small hand weights.
Don’t forget to warm-up with a 10 minute bike ride or treadmill walk!
Perform each exercise in 2-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions, with a rest time of 1-2 minutes in between sets. Start off with a light weight that you can do sets of 15 comfortably and gradually increase the weight and repetitions as you get stronger (no more than 2.5 kg extra each week). Ensure you have at least 48 hours rest between working each muscle group again. Be aware changes are not going to happen overnight and the key to seeing the benefits, like with anything, is to stay consistent.
- Bench Press
- Lat Pull Down
- Calf raises
- Shoulder Press
- Seated Row
If you don’t have access to a gym, some good body weight alternatives include single leg squats, push ups, lunges, step ups, single leg calf raises, inverted row, chin ups or chin up lowers. Or you could just use heavy items around the house to make the exercises more challenging. As an example a backpack with heavy books inside.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, please consult your doctor before you start, as your work out may need to be tweaked to ensure you are safe! If you have any questions, feel free to comment on the post or ask your physiotherapist.
Thanks to Plus Fitness in Jordan Springs for letting us use their fabulous facilities for these photos.