According to a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, only 9% of Americans are strength training consistently. Why? Resistance training doesn't give that immediate sweat that you get from cardio exercise- although, if you are doing the workout intensely, it can be harder than cardio. Women may be scared off by heavy bars and dumbells- you don't have to use any weight to do resistance training. Many gyms, especially in the weight room area, can be intimidating without any guidance. So, how do you get started? Try starting with machines or weight workout classes at the gym, or resistance bands that you can order online. There are a ton of workouts available online, dvds, and books or you can get a personal trainer; and there are so many different and creative ways to incorporate strength training into your workout now so you don't have to lift weights the traditional way. Strength training has many benefits- stronger bones, ligaments, tendons, better balance and coordination, weight loss and control (more muscle means more calories burned), and it has been shown to lower the risk of chronic disease. ACSM recommends to work all your major muscle groups 2-3 times per week, giving at least 48 hours of rest in between. Strength workouts can take 20 minutes or even broken down into two 10 minute workouts in one day. You don't have to use weights, you can use your own body weight and still challenge yourself. Try for 2- 3 sets and 10-15 repetitions for each exercise. And make sure you are pushing yourself so that the last 4-5 reps are challenging and you are feeling a muscle burn. If you are in a exercise rut or have hit a plateau, try resistance training 2-3 times per week consistently and see if you get results.
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