Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Strength Training

I started using the weight room at my YMCA after the doctor said I am beginning to have early signs of osteoporosis. From talking to friends this seems to be a common concern after menopause. Although I already roller skate, hike, bike and swim I decided that I needed weight bearing exercises. So after 3 months- I am definitely stronger but have aches and pains I didn't know were waiting to be discovered. I just finished reading the book Strength Training for Seniors- looking for some tips on how to do things better. My goal is not to change my appearance but to have stronger bones. This book would make a nice gift for an older friend or relative who is not used to exercising and/or has some medical issues such as obesity, arthritis or high blood pressure. The author does a nice job of explaining why strength training is important, the relationship between good nutrition and strength, principles of strength training such as how to keep it safe, frequency, intensity, duration, how to select an exercise and pace of progression. The specific exercises look fairly easy for a beginner with exercises done while seated, using the wall, a bench or ball. I personally like the ball the best for home exercises and if I feel lazy just lie on it to stretch and relax.

I purchased my ball at Target a while back and think it was less than 20 dollars. It is not super strong but I don't really abuse it much so it has lasted several years. There are much stronger balls sold in therapy catalogs and websites but they can be quite expensive.

I recently began taking a yoga class to become more flexible and hopefully get rid of the aches and pains just mentioned. I was very surprised that I was able to lie on my back and slowly lower my legs to the floor-a demonstration that my abdominals had strengthened from time in the gym. Aside from that, the yoga class was a lot of fun.

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