Get Moving Monday: Strength Training Without the Gym!

People often consider gym to be the right place to gain perfect figure and stay fit. In fact, it is not true. Staying fit with a good physique actually need no gym activities. One can easily achieve this without going to a gym-just by practicing strength-training exercises. As with any workouts, whether it is based on your own body weight or free weights, resistance is more important. This is because unless and until your resistance increases, the muscles won’t work to their utmost capability and the spur that fibers need to develop will be lost.

Strength-training exercises are similar to the exercises at gym. These exercises when done in an approved manner helps build up muscle mass and enhance the metabolic activities. Moreover, doing these exercises require no time limit and money. Strength-training exercises are very easy to perform and can be done at your convenient location—a bedroom or a park. But, all that requires is following the right procedure: a proper warm up prior to the start of the session, settling down and stretching after finishing the session. Remember that regular practice of these exercises can add more resistance to the existing workouts.

Here are few strength-training exercises to build your body muscles and maintain body fitness:

Push-Up: Lay chest down on the ground with hands about 13-17 inches wide or shoulder width apart and palms flat on the ground with a bit more than shoulder-width apart. Now push your body up off the ground until both the arms become straight, keeping the palms stable and body straight. Then, slowly lower the body towards the ground by bending the arms and keeping the body straight. Lower thestrength training exercises body till the chest touches the ground. Always remember to exhale as you straighten the arms and inhale as you bend the arms. Repeat the procedure as many times as possible for you.

Squats:  Place your feet about shoulder width or approximately 13-16 inches wide with your back straight and head facing up. Slowly squat down to that position where the abs contracted and the thighs are parallel to the ground.

Hold this position for a while and get back to standing position without bouncing at the end of the movement. Don’t forget to exhale your breath as you are getting back to the original position—the standing position.

Bent-Over Row:  Take a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, right hand and right knee braced on level surface for a better support. Now, pick up dumbbells or a barbell and hold it underneath the shoulders with hands shoulder-width apart. Flex your elbows, lift your hands, and slowly bring the dumbbell to the sides of your body. Now, wait for a while and slowly lower both hands down to the original position.

Calf Raises:  On a step, put your toes on the edge and hold on to the hand rail for balance, lower your heals to get a good stretch, then raise up on your toes as high as you can, lower and repeat for as many as you can.

Abdominal crunches: Lie on your back with your legs bent and your heels close to your butt. Put your chin on your chest and your hands behind your head. Raise your head up crunching your abs hard (you should only go about 1/3 of the way as compared to traditional sit-ups) lower and repeat.

Hyper-extensions:
Lying face down on the floor, lift your upper body and arms off the ground for as long as you can. Slowly lower body and arms back to ground and repeat.

Lunges: 

Stand straight in correct posture; now stand with one leg forward and one leg back. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and chest up, lower your upper body down, bending your leg (don’t step out too far).

You should have about one to two feet between your feet at this stage, the further forward you step, and the more your gluteus and hamstring muscles will have to work.

Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down and stop where your feel comfortable (try not to let your back come forward) then push directly back up. Do all your reps on one leg then switch legs and do all your reps on the other leg.

Dips: To begin, place a sturdy chair behind you. Face away from the chair seat and put your hands on the edge of the seat, spaced about shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms straight and bend your knees so you’re almost in a seated position in front of the chair. This is the starting position.

Slowly, bend your arms to a 90-degree angle, lowering your entire body. Once you reach this angle, hold it for a second before straightening your arms again and resuming the starting position.

Chin-ups:  Grab a bar with an underhand grip and hang down getting a good stretch in the lats. Pull up until your chest hits the bars. Lower and repeat. These can be easily be done in a park, schoolyard or on a doorway chin bar.

Sources: http://www.fitnesshealthzone.com/exercises/strength-training-exercises-to-stay-fit-without-going-to-gym/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/becker20.htm

http://www.moneycrashers.com/strength-training-exercises-women/

http://www.topendsports.com/fitness/home-no-gym.htm

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Get Moving Monday: Strength Training May be Fountain of Youth

Strength training is an integral part of a well-rounded exercise program, and is recommended for both sexes of all ages, including kids and seniors. Unfortunately, many ignore weight training when devising their exercise plan, thinking they don’t want to “bulk up.” But gaining more muscle through resistance exercises has many benefits, from losing excess fat to maintaining healthy bone mass and preventing age-related muscle loss as you age.

The intensity of your resistance training can achieve a number of beneficial changes on the molecular, enzymatic, hormonal, and chemical level in your body, which will also help slow down (and many cases stop) many of the diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore it’s also an essential element if you want to prevent common diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, or weakening of your bones (osteoporosis), limited range of motion, aches and pains.

Biomarkers of aging are determinants of aging that you are capable of controlling. They’re things that tell you how old you would be if you didn’t know how old you were. This includes but is not limited to the following—all of which strength training has a beneficial impact on: strength and muscle mass, body composition, blood lipids, bone density, cardio-respiratory fitness, and gene expression.Research has shown that strength training in the elderly reversed oxidative stress and returned gene expression in 179 genes to a more youthful level, making them 10 years “younger”.

While it’s never too late to start exercising, the earlier you begin and the more consistent you are, the greater your long-term rewards. Having an active lifestyle is really an investment in your future well-being. Interestingly, strength training has been found to have a beneficial impact on your gene expression — not only slowing aging but actually returning gene expression to youthful levels in seniors who start using resistance training.

Biological aging, and eventually death, can be defined as “the changes in structures and functions of humans with the passage of time that does not result from disease or gross accidents.” Under the right conditions, you can live indefinitely, as long as you can prevent or recover from biochemical, cellular and physical accidents.

Diet accounts for the majority, about 80 percent, of the health benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle, but exercise is a crucial component and adjunct to a healthy diet. Exercise, and strength training in particular, is a force multiplier and the great leveraging agent. Overall, interval training (short, intense bursts of movement followed by rest) may give you even greater payoffs when incorporated with strength training.

A recent article in Forbes magazine highlighted the benefits of strength training for the aging population, rightfully asserting that it plays a far more important role than aerobic exercise. According to Forbes:

“[T]he average 30-35 year old person will experience roughly a 25 percent decline in his or her muscle strength and tone by the age of 70-75, and up to a 50 percent decline approaching the age of 90. Simply doing aerobic exercise such as walking or light treadmill workouts will not be adequate to preserve muscle tone, bone health, balance and posture. If you are not engaging in strength or resistance training, the chances are high that you will lose strength and become less functional as you age.

… Research has clearly shown that strength training can help to reduce the pace of bone loss, while some studies have demonstrated that such training can actually help to build bone… Movements and exercises that place stress on bones help to form additional calcium deposits and stimulate bone forming cells.”

Weight-bearing exercise is one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis. For example, a walking lunge exercise is a great way to build bone density in your hips, even without any additional weights. The last thing you want to consider is to take a prescription drug to improve your bone density, as without question, that is more likely to cause long-term harm than benefit.

Ideally, you’ll want to include a variety of exercises for a well-rounded fitness regimen. Strength training is an important component as it’s the number one way for you to remain strong, young, and independent well into old age.

Sources: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/03/15/strength-training-benefits.aspx