Strength training

Strength training will do as much to ensure your long-term physical well-being as anything you will ever do.

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Strength training benefits include building more muscle tissue, which results in a higher metabolism, which in turn allows you to burn more calories, preventing weight gain.

Strength training will do as much to ensure your long-term physical well-being as anything you will ever do. We lose about 5 percent of our muscle mass every 10 years. Strength or resistance training will slow and even reverse this trend.

From 30-60 minutes of strength training twice a week will improve posture, maintain muscle tissue, boost energy levels, increase bone density and prevent injury. A new study even shows its importance in stemming memory loss and brain function as we age.

You are never too old to start strength training. I’ve seen individuals start at age 75 or 85. Before starting any strength or weightlifting program, check with your physician.

It's important to work all the major muscle groups. Embarking on a full-body routine early will ensure a strong, symmetrical build that not only looks good, but will be more resilient to injury down the road.

Before each workout, always warm up with 10 minutes of low-intensity cardiovascular exercise (for example, cycling in a low gear or walking briskly). When you raise your body temperature, you decrease the risk of injury by making your muscles more pliable. Warming up beforehand also gives you more flexibility for a greater range of motion and helps minimize muscle soreness afterward.

For each exercise, start with a moderate weight that causes a slight amount of muscle fatigue after 10-12 repetitions. Start with one set the first two weeks, slowly progressing to two sets after two to three weeks. Once you can lift more than 15 reps for both sets in each exercise, increase the weight by 10-15 percent until completing all the reps becomes challenging again.

If you are not strength training today, make this a goal for 2018. Start slow and invest in as little as 30 minutes, three times a week.

Trainer tip - One of the best ways to simplify your exercise program is to buy a few sets of dumbbells and lift at home.

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