Tips To Be Fit: Strength training, muscle building: Common myths | Lifestyle


Nothing is more important to building strong bone and muscle than strength training. Strength training involves lifting weights. Strength training can improve almost every measure of health. This includes your ability to stay active and independent in your later years.

Many people think that strength training is less important than walking or other forms of aerobic exercise. This is not true. You need strong bones and muscle to get the most out of your aerobic conditioning. Without strong bones and muscles you can hurt your body.

Other strength training myths:

Myth#1: I’ll get muscle-bound if I lift weightsMost women think they will look like a muscle man if they lift weights. The amount of testosterone in your body determines how much muscle you will be able to develop. Most of the men and women with the big muscles are taking drugs.

When you start strength training about 30% of the initial improvement occurs because of improved efficiency between your muscles and central nervous system. After that your muscles and bones will start to grow. Muscle takes up less space but weighs more. We should think fat loss and not just weight loss. Most people don’t train hard enough to build big muscles.

Myth#2: Strength training takes too much time

Most people spend about 30 minutes doing aerobic most days. With strength training you only need about 20 minutes most days to get training effect. A 20-minute strength training workout is enough time to work your hold body.

Myth#3: I can get just as strong doing yoga

Yoga does not build muscle or bone tissue. While yoga is beneficial it’s still only a light workout. It’s more challenging when you first start exercising. With yoga you can’t increase workload as you can with strength training. People that lift weights can double their strength in no time.

Myth#4: Free weights are better than workout machines

Both free weights and active workout machines can give you a great strength workout. Both can challenge your body. Free weights bring more muscle into play when lifting. Machines tend to stabilize your lift putting fewer muscles in play. The more muscle you put into play the more training effect is in play. A positive point for machines is that machines isolate muscle groups. There is also less stress and more notable gains for older adults when they use machines.

Muscle building and toning exercises stimulate the muscle fibers to grow and give shape to the body. Resistance training will help control your weight, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, improve memory, reduce risk of dementia, improves energy, helps relieve stress and helps ease depression.

Another advantage of adding muscle-building exercises to your fitness routine is that muscle is more metabolically active than fat tissue. This means that a well-toned body will burn calories and fat at a faster rate than a flabby body.

Weight-bearing exercises help prevent osteoporosis and make the tendons, ligaments and muscles, which support the skeletal system, stronger. It also increases the density of the bones making them stronger. Stronger bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles allow your body to perform aerobic activities with a lower risk of injuries.

Basic resistance training activities include the use of calisthenics, weight training and the use of other equipment such as exercise tubes. If you don’t have access to traditional weight training equipment you can improvise with sandbags, plastic bottles filled with water or canned goods. I like the idea of using weights because as you get stronger you will need to increase the amount of weight you use. If you don’t have access to a gym you can buy a set of adjustable dumbbells, which will allow you to add weight, as you get stronger. Also, a set of dumbbells will allow you to effectively work each body part.

Ideally, you should work each body part two times a week and never work the same body part without skipping at least one day before working that body part again. If you can do more than 12 repetitions with a given weight you need to increase the amount of weight to effectively work that muscle group. If you can’t do at least eight repetitions with a given weight then you need to reduce the amount of weight you’re using (exceptions include power lifting and pyramiding programs).

You should exercise each muscle group of the body rather than just concentrate on one area to add balance in strength and muscle growth.

Overdevelopment of strength and muscle tone in one body part will have an adverse effect on another body part. Make sure you work the chest, shoulders, triceps, upper and lower back, biceps, abdominal muscles (stomach area), thighs (which will effect the buttocks) and calf muscles of the lower leg. Talk to an expert to get you started such as a qualified personal trainer or exercise physiologist.

Even with exercise you need sleep to strengthen your body. Our bones grow and are repaired as we sleep. The amount of sleep needed each night varies among people. Each person needs a particular amount of sleep in order to be fully alert throughout the day. Research has shown that when healthy adults are allowed to sleep unrestricted, the average time slept is 8 to 8.5 hours. Some people need more than that to avoid problem sleepiness; others need less. If a person does not get enough sleep, even on one night, a “sleep debt” begins to build and increases until enough sleep is obtained. Problem sleepiness occurs as the debt accumulates. Many people do not get enough sleep during the work week and then sleep longer on the weekends or days off to reduce their sleep debt. If too much sleep has been lost, sleeping in on the weekend may not completely reverse the effects of not getting enough sleep during the week.

If you have a fitness question or concern you would like addressed write to: “Tips to be Fit,” P.O. Box 53443, Philadelphia, PA 19105 or [email protected] If you’ve missed an article of “Tips to be Fit” just search for “Tips to be Fit.”

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