After hitting the big 3-0, your muscle mass starts to degrade and your metabolism slows down. You can combat these effects of aging by building more lean muscle, which will help you get stronger and burn extra calories. When you add lean muscle mass, your body has to work a little harder and use a little more energy -- calories! -- to maintain that muscle tissue. As a result, the muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than non-muscle tissue does, keeping you slimmer.
Why Strength Train
Strength training builds muscle, but it can also help reduce aches and pains, improve your balance, strengthen your bones, improve your sleep, make your heart stronger, and reduce your risk of suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression. Resistance training will help you melt fat by gaining muscle. Read it again: muscle, not bulk. And building muscle makes you stronger, all the way around.
You are strong. In fact, you could probably be lifting more weight than you are. You should have to focus so strongly on maintaining good form and doing the exercise correctly and fully with such a heavy load that your mind can't afford to wander away from the exercise. Traditional bodybuilding guidance will tell you that the last few reps should be the toughest, because these are where the big gains are made.
Maintain Good Form
When you're doing any type of weight-bearing exercise, good form is essential to ensure that you get the full benefit of the move, and to reduce your risk of injuries. Improper form can lead to sprains, strains and even fractures. A one-on-one session with a trainer, to make sure that you've chosen moves appropriate to your goals and are doing the moves correctly, may be well worth the extra cost.
Using exercises that allow you to add more weight as you get stronger will allow you to continue improving and push past what used to be your threshold. Upper-body work includes your shoulders, back, chest and abs, and will help you build your core strength. Some exercises that will work your chest, back and arms are pushups, bench presses, chinups, dips, shoulder flyes and back flyes. Remember not to leave out your lower back, which takes a lot of abuse and needs strengthening just as much as the rest of your body.
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Working out your lower body should include parts of your core, such as your hip flexors and glutes, and also your legs, including your ankles and feet. Some exercises that will strengthen these areas are squats, lunges, leg extensions and curls, and calf raises. Once you perfect your form, you can try the moves while holding some dumbells in your hands, which will build your muscles even more. To get the most "bang for your buck," try an exercise that engages several different muscle groups at once, such as the clean and press.
Fuel and Rest
To have the energy to properly fuel your workout, you'll need carbohydrates, protein and fat. Protein is especially important for building, repairing and maintaining muscle and connective tissue; you need to take in enough protein to fuel your body effectively. Sleep, and giving muscle groups time off, is key to recovery and rebuilding. You should arrive at your next workout feeling fresh and ready to go, not fatigued and sore.
- Health Guidance: Bodybuilding Magic in the Last Rep
- Lift Like a Girl: A BIG Mistake You Could be Making in Your Workouts That’s Costing You Results
- Academy of Nutrition and Diatetics: Eat Right for Resistance Training
- Mayo Clinic: Weight Training: Do's and Don'ts of Proper Technique
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Train?
- Lift Like a Girl: Best Dang Exercises to Build a Better Body and Be More Awesome – Chest, Shoulders, Back & Abs
- Bodybuilding.com: Clean and Press
Ari Reid has a bachelor's degree in biology (behavior) and a master's in wildlife ecology. When Reid is not training to run marathons, she is operating a non-profit animal rescue organization. Reid has been writing web content for science, health and fitness blogs since 2008.