Resistance training is medicine, according to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine. Not only can it make you look and feel better, it can improve your overall health, reduce your risk of cancer, prevent osteoporosis and help you live longer.
The study found that the benefits of resistance training include improved physical performance, movement control, walking speed, functional independence, cognitive abilities and self-esteem.
Resistance training—which includes any workout in which you move your limbs against resistance provided by your own body weight, gravity, bands, weighted bars or dumbbells—is effective for almost everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. And it’s never too late to start.
Body weight resistance training includes exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges. Add to the intensity of those and other exercises by using dumbbells.
For instance, grab a heavy dumbbell and hold each end with your hands in front of your waist; with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly, bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can, keeping your torso upright; hold for a few seconds, then lift back up. Do at least 10 repetitions. (See illustration at top).
When you’re ready for more resistance, look for introductory training sessions at your gym, talk to a personal trainer or grab a set of dumbbells and start pumping some iron at home. Of course, be sure to talk with your health care provider before starting any new exercise regimen.
Strength, self-esteem and a longer life span await.