Each month as part of our "12 Habits of Highly Healthy People" we're highlighting a healthy habit and offering tips on how to integrate it into your healthy lifestyle. This month's habit is strength and flexibility training.
Strength and flexibility aid in improving performance, preventing injury, and achieving personal health and fitness goals. Strength and flexibility exercises aren't just for body builders or serious athletes.
Everyone can benefit from maintaining muscle mass and flexibility. Some benefits include:
- Weight control. Adults lose about 10 percent of lean muscle mass a decade starting after age 30. Fortunately, this can be counteracted by regular strength training. An added bonus is this may aid with weight loss. Lean muscle means more muscle available to burn calories.
- Joint protection. Strong muscles may reduce the pain of arthritis. In other words, the best "brace" you can give yourself is the natural brace of your muscles.
- Injury prevention. When your muscles are flexible, they move more effectively in their range of motion.
Technique is key. You can hurt yourself if you strength train or stretch with poor technique. It's crucial to have the best technique for these types of exercises.
Concentrate on improving your own health and preventing injury by including strength and flexibility training into your exercise routine two days a week. Check your local gym or community center for a qualified exercise professional. A certified trainer can demonstrate movements to increase strengthen and flexibility.
Inspire someone with your story. How do you maintain your strength and flexibility? Thinking about starting? Share your plan with us.
By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.