KEEP FIT Resisting resistance training? Bad idea, says JAYANTHI MURAHARI
Resistance training, strength training, weight training, body conditioning, body pump… You would have definitely heard of these and wondered what they meant. If you thought that it’s something to do with fitness freaks you’re wrong. These are different ways to develop strength and refer to working out with either external weights like dumbbells, kettlebell or using your body weight like doing push-up crunches. And guess what? Everybody needs it in different doses and different varieties.
Resistance training is one of the three main components of a well balanced fitness regimen. Did you think a person is completely fit if he can jog miles together? Think again. If that jogger is unable to lift a bag of grocery down a corridor or if he struggles to push his own punctured bike, then he is functionally unfit. You are functionally fit only if you can go about your everyday activities with ease and also cope with the occasional surprises. Sometimes it could be running to catch a bus, climbing a six-storied building when the lift fails, pushing a table, lifting heavy bags, stretching up to pull something from the loft…whatever your day demands.
While cardio training takes care of the running and the climbing part, what about the lifting and the pushing? This is where weight training helps. Weight training benefits all — young and old alike. And when it comes to women it is equally important; actually more because weight training increases bone density and can avert problems like osteoporosis. It also improves posture, increases muscular endurance, enhances flexibility and develops strength around the joints.
But convincing a girl to do a little weight training is as difficult as convincing a hulk to do cardio training. Believe this, girls, there is no chance of you ending up looking muscular! This is because women lack the hormone testosterone responsible for muscle building. So the next time somebody gives you a pair of dumbbells, give them a sweet smile; they mean well.
Weight training can work wonders and you can start at any age. The best is to start it when you are in your 20s when the linear growth is complete and the muscles are ready for some action. Also, till 25 years the body goes through the anabolic stage (cell development). After 25 slowly the ageing process takes off, and the body starts experiencing the catabolic stage (cell degeneration).
Fight ageing: As one grows old muscle fibres shrink and die (called atrophy). Even sedentary life will lead to atrophy. Weight training will help you fight the effects of ageing, and even reverse it to a certain extent.
Fat loss: Muscles, unlike fat, are active cells that require energy to stay alive. This means burning up calories even while you are resting. Thus weight training helps increase the BMR (basal metabolic rate) of the body and therefore in fat loss.
Stronger you: It also helps build stronger muscles. As muscles get attached to the bones through the tendons, it helps build stronger tendons and thus stronger bones. Strong bones don’t break easily.
- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends resistance training at a moderate-to-high intensity (depending on the interest and needs of the person) that is sufficient to develop and maintain muscle mass.
- This should be done at least two days in a week for a minimum of one set of 8 to 12 repetitions.
- Each session should include 8 to 10 exercises that challenge the major muscle groups.
- A certified trainer would be able to decide the right intensity and chart out the exercise schedule for you.
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