Strength (also known as resistance training) is a really great way to stay in shape. Before I even considered running any distance, I started in the gym with the various machines, dumbbells and kettle bells. I lost a lot of weight, I felt really strong and was able to start running because I had a base fitness. Usually when people ask me how to get started, I tell them to start at the gym. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, there is always some space to squeeze in some strength training.
Why should you strength train? Well, only the strong survive but there are plenty of other reasons. For me the big draw was weight loss. Strength training builds muscle and boosts metabolism and as a result weight is lost and able to be kept off. By keeping excess weight off, it also helps prevent diabetes and contributes to bone health. Personally, I feel a difference when I am keeping up in my strength workouts. It helps me endure long runs, lets me push harder in spin class and hold the poses better in yoga! Speaking of yoga, strength training can improve your posture as well. All of these reasons make strength training a really good addition to any training.
How do you get started? Like most fitness programs, slow and steady. And to be honest, you don’t even need weights to get started. Body weight exercises are great for strength training. Squats, planks, mountain climbers and lunges are all great examples of strength training and body weight exercises. Another way I would recommend getting started with strength training (especially at your local YMCA with a specialist), weight machines. Machines are great to get you on the right path with form, control and knowing just how much weight you are lifting. Keep in mind, it is important to start slow. Recently, I have picked my strength training back up. I started back light and with one set of 10-15 repetitions. I know I could do more, but the point is to get good at one set and then in time increase the sets or the weight. Give strength training a shot, you will be really impressed with the results over time!