Joining a gym can be a great way to get active but if you are new to the gym scene, we have some tips to help you get started at a gym.
You don’t need a fancy exercise program to tone muscle, but joining a gym is a great first step to learning how to increase strength and maintain muscle effectively and efficiently. Maintaining muscle is an important part of healthy aging. We all begin losing muscle in our 40’s but the is a way to slow age-related muscle loss and that is with regular strength exercises and ensuring you are getting enough high quality protein that includes leucine in your diet.
You also don’t need to invest a ton of time every week to weights, just fit 30 minutes a couple of days a week and you will be on your way to better health.
The benefits of strength exercises include increasing energy, relieving stress, reducing risk of injury while strengthening the muscles around bones can increase bone density and decrease the risk of osteoporosis as well as sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass, strength and function related to aging. Subtle at first, sarcopenia can begin in your 40’s with about 1% muscle loss per year and becomes more consequential as you age, impacting your daily physical function and independence. Two things can help curb this muscle loss: adding more protein to your diet and doing strength exercises.
Tips to Get Started at a Gym
Learn 5 Machines
Ask a certified fitness trainer at the gym to show you how to properly use at least 5 different machines on the gym floor – one for chest, shoulders, back, legs, triceps and one for biceps.
Most fitness professionals will recommend a weight for you that you can lift with increasing difficultly (but not exhaustion) at least 8 times, then recommend a 30 second rest time, and repeating the lifting for 2 more sets of 8 before going to the next machine or muscle group.
Learning proper technique for posture on the weight machines, positioning your back and legs and how to lift or pull is very important to ensure you do not risk injury.
Ask a fitness trainer to also show you how to properly perform squats, lunges, a plank and push ups. These exercise are far more effective and efficient if done correctly.
The key to an efficient gym visit is to use your rest time on in between set on the machines to work a different muscle group and combine your exercises.
In between rowing exercises for your back, do a set of 10 lunges on each leg, between chest presses do a set of sit ups on a ball. This list of strength exercises using just your body weight is great to do either at home, or at the gym in between sets using the weight machines.
Gym regulars have their routines set. While you are doing your exercise, watch others and maybe learn a few new moves or learn how a few new machines work to add to your routine. Working different muscles groups or the same groups doing different exercises will be beneficial to your overall increased strength.
The important part is to stay active as you get older and even better if you can incorporate strength exercises. Lifting a few light weights tones and improves lean muscle mass which is good for your heart, and bones. Regular exercise relieves stress and increases energy levels so finding a way to get started at a gym is a good idea at any age !
*As always, an important first step is to talk to your Doctor before beginning any new workout program.
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