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Resist to Get Stronger


Adults will benefit from performing activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for at least 2 nonconsecutive days each week, but preferably 3 days.


Maintaining your physical function is important as you age, and doing any type of resistance work will make it easier for you to do everyday activities and daily self-care.  Keeping the muscle mass you have as you age or gaining more can help you manage your blood glucose levels more effectively as well.  If you have any physical limitations, working on your strength is important to prevent loss of muscle mass and bone strength. 


Exactly how you choose to resistance train may not be that critical.  You can gain or maintain strength by doing anywhere from 3 to 15 repetitions per set on each exercise and 1 to 3 sets, with at least two minutes of rest between multiple sets.  Generally, doing 8 to 12 repetitions and 2 to 3 sets is recommended, although you can gain strength from just doing 1 set.  Do at least 8-10 different resistance exercises that work your full musculature (upper body, lower body, and core).


You can choose among using resistance bands, free weights (dumbbells, barbells, or household items), resistance machines, or your own body weight as resistance (for example, doing planks or lunges).  The main difference is the intensity of your training.  


If you're just starting out or returning to resistance work after an extended period without doing any, start out on the lower end of the intensity scale to help prevent injuries as you work out more regularly.  If you're already doing quite a bit of resistance work, using heavier weights or resistance machines will help take you to the next level of strength and muscle mass gains.  


Regardless of what you choose to do, remember that engaging in any type of resistance training is always better than doing none!


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