Woman doing a bicep flex in gym

Strength training is more than just about getting ripped. There are perks that go beyond the aesthetic look of a muscular physique.

According to the American Cancer Society, strength training can boost benefits in 5 areas:

  • Increased muscle mass: Muscle mass naturally decreases with age, but strength training can help reverse the trend.
  • Stronger bones: Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.
  • Joint flexibility: Strength training helps maintain joint flexibility and can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Weight control: As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more easily, making it easier to control your weight.
  • Balance: Strengthening exercises can increase flexibility and balance as people age, reducing falls and injuries.

And, the Mayo Clinic gives one more:

  • Sharpens your thinking skills. Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.

The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice a week, and studies show that just two or three 20- or 30-minute strength training sessions every week can make significant progress toward these health benefits.

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Options can include:

  • Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
  • Resistance bands or tubing. Resistance tubing is lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.

Strength training can help you get stronger and look and feel better with just a few short sessions each week.

Try these exercises:

Bodyweight: Fast Sprint Mountain Climbers

Start in High plank and alternate knees to chest in a sprinting motion while holding the body in a straight line from head to toe. Try 30 seconds on, 10 second rest. 5 rounds. Try the move while balancing both hands on a medicine ball for an advanced challenge.

Works: Triceps, Abs, Shoulders, Back

Resistance Bands: Plank Arm Lifts

Start in high plank and hold resistance band in both hands. Lift one arm off the ground holding and end of the resistance band, elbow toward the ceiling. Alternate sides.

Works: Triceps, Abs, Shoulders, Back

Free Weights: Front Squat

Start in standing position with feet just outside hips. Hold Kettlebell in both hands at chest level. Bring your bottom back and down toward the floor as if sitting back into a chair. Drive through the heels and return to standing. Repeat.

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