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Discover the power of resistance!

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Discover the power of resistance!

You know what to avoid in order to stay healthy: smoking, drinking too much, heavily processed food,,added sugars, simple carbs, inactivity. But how about that relatively simple thing you could be doing…but aren’t? According to a new study, nearly 75 percent of American adults don’t do the recommended amount of strength training (two or more sessions a week), and nearly 60 percent do none at all. Strength training, also commonly called resistance exercise and weight training, offers a massive bang for your buck. Just a couple of sessions a week can help you maintain a healthy weight; improve blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels; prevent or manage type 2 diabetes; increase bone mineral density; and help you maintain or improve basic physical functioning as you age. If you’re not sure where to begin, get familiar with these three basic categories of resistance exercise and choose your favorite. To get started, you may want to invest in a few sessions with a qualified trainer to learn how to work out effectively, use proper technique for each exercise, and stay safe.

Body weight: Perfect for beginners and those with injuries, resistance exercise using your own body weight (think squats and pushups) can be modified for any fitness level. An added bonus: Most body-weight exercises are portable!

Machines: Because they’re on a set track, you have to worry less about injury from improper form or a weight falling on you! Many gyms offer a free orientation to learn the basics of machines—take them up on it!

Free weights. Once you’ve mastered body-weight exercises, you can add more resistance with free weights. Free weights require more attention to form than do machines to avoid injury. The payoff: “With free weights, more stabilizing muscles are required,” notes Cleveland Clinic fitness specialist Ryan Sidak, “which leads to faster improvements in strength and body composition.”